Sleepless nights

The wall clock read 11:59. The silence in the house only reminded him how much he missed seeing his wife ushering their little daughter off to sleep. No more gleeful laughs as she tried to stall time, or secret father-daughter toothbrush capers.

He turned his head on the pillow. It was 12:39. He lay in the stillness. When he closed his eyes, he saw a rush of images. He was afraid to sleep. More accurate to say he was afraid of the dreams sleep would bring.

1.28. He sat up. Gulped down a white bitter pill which the doctor had prescribed, lay back down, waiting for it to take effect. It was useless. When he got up to take a sip of water, he almost fell over. So he perched on the edge of the bed, reading a book.

2.26. He lay down and looked at the ceiling. Nah, not nearly as interesting as the book. He closed his eyes for a while, recalling the psychiatrist’s words. Blank darkness, the doctor intoned. Blank darkness. When his wife’s face appeared, he opened his eyes again.

3.18. The floor creaked as he walked around the bedroom. Outside, a dog barked. He stood at the bedroom window, listening to the insects whir.

4.51. He closed his eyes and hummed a tune. Nearly, but at the last minute, something disturbing flitted across his mind’s eye and again he was sleepless.

5.38. The stars shone outside. He stared at them, smiling as he recalled his daughter trying to play Twinkle on the piano. His wife laughing. The two of them having so much fun.

6.18. The sun was just rising. He had already dressed for work. He poured cornflakes into a bowl and ate them, slowly, like his wife always told him to.

7.37. He was the first at work. He said hi to the caretaker, who was unlocking the doors.

“You look terrible! Have you slept at all?”
“About five minutes. I’m fine.”
“No, you aren’t. This won’t do! I’m taking you to see a doctor.”
“You’re really a lot like my wife.”
An awkward pause.
“Sorry.” Pause. “But you’re still seeing a doctor.”

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