How Sweet the Sleep

Ah…a good night’s sleep is a treasure and a treat! Scrumptious. After a round of sleepless nights, when slumber visits and deep sleep embraces me, it is as if a pair of dingy scratched lenses have been taken off….the world is softer, my mood lighter, and possibilities more infinite.
Insomnia has tested and tormented me since childhood. Many sleepless nights were spent reading…unless I was caught. The bedside lamp was too easy for my parents to detect but my closet was large with a light so I could crawl in there and read. Alas, my “hideout” was discovered when my mom was putting away clean clothes. The nest of pillows and books gave me away, the light bulb was removed. I borrowed the flashlight which stuck to the refrigerator with a magnet and crawled night after night under the bedcovers with a book, careful to return the flashlight each night. The loud “click” of magnet sucked to metal resounded loud in the darkened house and caused my heart to skip a beat. I don’t remember how they figured out I was using that flashlight…maybe they noticed the lighted tent that was my bed, maybe I failed to replace the flashlight in exactly the same spot on the fridge (although I remember being quite careful to do so) but eventually the flashlight was moved out of reach. My father had a flashlight in the trunk of his car, so I “borrowed” that one. I couldn’t imagine why he would have one there..? My eight-year-old mind couldn’t conceive of the need for a flashlight in a car, but he was a traveling salesman. I kept the flashlight carefully hidden but eventually it was discovered missing and I was forced to confess. The physical punishment I received for taking the flashlight paled in light of the torment I felt after hearing the examples of how my father would have suffered if his car had broken down at night, or he couldn’t save the life of some unfortunate soul in a roadside accident if he didn’t have that light. He suggested a few scenarios, my imagination dreamt up the rest.
I resorted to the window in my bedroom. My room was in the basement, the window well was incased with cold looking steel or aluminum. Not much light, but on a full moon or near a full moon, light found its way to the window and cast shadows in my room. I would crawl up onto the wide window sill, scrunch into the corner and read by moonlight.
Books kept me company during long sleepless nights. The moonless nights I tossed and turned, crept about the house like a mouse, helped myself to milk from the fridge, or tried without success to read on the cold creepy bathroom floor. Insomnia continues to haunt me, stretch my nights and challenge my days. Sleeplessness has forced me into dark places, added depth to my art, and given me insights hard-won but appreciated. Still…yummy drool-on-your-pillow sleep is a gift.
A treasure. A treat.