Today, a ringing phone awakened me. I rolled off the couch upon which I lay and picked up the cell phone. “Hello”, I said a bit too loudly, unsuccessfully trying to erase the “Sleepy sound” from my voice. “Hi”, the voice on the other end said, “Wow, you must be having fun, you are still sleeping at this time”. “Oh,” was my clever rejoinder as I bitterly ran over the past year in my head.
Because I have no “defined” job and have had none for the past year, (apart from a few freelance writing gigs and one or two jobs on a movie crew), I tend to sleep late and wake later. At first, my excuse for sleeping late was that the Internet was faster at night and so I was able to apply to more jobs and faster too. Later however, there was no point denying that the night is my favorite time. It is so peaceful and there are no interruptions. I don’t have to tell you that my “night walking” negatively affected my search for a job.
As such, here I was, a year later, listening to someone make fun of my sleeping habits or lack thereof. When I was done with the phone call, (which added absolutely nothing to my life by the way), I dropped back on my couch and closed my eyes preparing to get back to sleep when, Bang! My room door slammed open. “Snap!” I thought to myself, “I could have sworn I locked that door last night.” I sat up and watched my sister stride into the room.
Now the use of ‘stride’ in this case is not just a different way of saying ‘walk’, my sister literally strides. It is almost like she’s heading to war. When I was younger, I used to imagine a JCB truck every time she strode by, and don’t let her know, but I used to call her “Bulldozer” in my head in those days.
Anyway, I watched her stride into my room and then she said, “Onyew, are you still sleeping?”
“No my eyes are just puffy for the heck off it. What do you want today? Everyday you wake me up by slamming into this room or banging on my door. Can you go a day without doing that? I mean, a day, just one, numero uno, ichi, u…”
“Oh shut up, drama queen. Did you take my…” she said, interrupting my flow
“No. No, I didn’t. Whenever something goes missing in this house I’m always the first person you guys look to. Leave me alone.” I laid myself out on my comfortable couch and closed my eyes in defiance.
“Of course it is always you, you Idjit”, she walked into the bedroom section of my borrowed room, which just happened to be my parents suite. “You are always the one that takes everything”.
I’m not proud of it, but I stuck my tongue out at her departing back and then turned by back on her, folded my arms and closed my eyes. “Please leave quietly, I got no sleep last night’
“Do you ever? And why do you insist on sleeping on that couch when you have a bed calling out to you?”
I ignored the question and focused on my breathing. Deep and long inward breaths, slow shallow releases. Over and over, hoping I would get some sleep.
I was floating, the water was nice and warm on my skin, the sun was behind a cloud and I’m pretty sure I had a smile on face when the fish popped up beside me and gave me a keen look. I looked back at it, vaguely wondering how a fish could look so familiar, and it opened its mouth and said, “Onyew, Onyew…”
I was so startled that I lost my balance and began to sink. Sink? No I was falling, the water had disappeared and I was falling down a vast stormy sky, all the while I could still hear the fish calling my name. I had enough time to tell myself I would die if I hit the ground falling from this angle, just before I did hit something, consciousness. My eyes jerked open and I sat up with a gasp, almost bumping my head against the obstruction before me. The obstruction smiled mischievously and said, “Good, you are awake.”
Said obstruction was my so-called friend. I say so-called because a friend would, one, call before coming over and, two, not wake you up if said friend does come over without calling and finds you lying down vulnerably upon your oh-so-comfortable couch eyes shut and, probably, snoring lightly. Not this “friend” of mine though. She had woken me up so persistently as to induce that horrible “falling dream”.
After a few moments spent blinking dumbly in her face I realized what she had said to me. “No, I’m not awake”, I said grumpily, “Go away and don’t come back.” I assumed the fetal position, turning my back on her and shutting my eyes firmly. “On your way out, if you see anybody lurking in the hallway, looking like they plan to interrupt my slumber again, tell them I said to get lost. Thanks homie.” I snuggled in close to the back of the couch and smiled. A few minutes later it occurred to me that I hadn’t heard the door close and so I turned around to check what happened. She was still there, smiling indulgently down at me. With a sigh of resignation, I kicked away my covers and dropped my feet too the cold floor. With one last longing look at my perfect couch, I headed into the bedroom and then the bathroom to begin the ritual that would mark my unwilling entrance into yet another sleep deprived day.