I can't get to sleep.
I just watch the clock as its glowing, lime green numbers mark the passing of another minute. The minutes compound every sixty seconds and amass accordingly, but time moves slowly as I lay awake.
I hate the clock.
I want to unplug it. But I don't.
The clock taunts me in ways I think are uncanny.
There is a terrifying marvel in its patterns.
Sometimes I get to sleep alright – I just drift off with an effortlessness that usually comes as the result of exerting myself some point during the day – only to wake up just as the clock strikes 2:22.
Always 2:22. Never 2:23 or 2:24.
It's not the clock's fault, I tell myself as I continue this battle with Sopor.
I close my eyes and shift from one side to the other, pulling the covers as I go.
This irritates my husband, who would tell you that this periodic predicament is my own fault, seeing as how I have been known to drink black coffee long into the evening.
But I disagree.
It's the ruminating that does it.
The chewing of ideas into something that should be nutritious, but usually turns out to be just a thick paste of anxiety.
Do I get up? Watch TV? Read?
I consult my iPhone. Run my fingers through Facebook. Check my email. Play “Words With Friends.”
No sense in just tossing and turning. I swing my legs to the floor and feel the rust in my joints scrub off as I walk across the room to retrieve my robe.
Cold from the floor shoots up my legs from the soles of my feet, reminding me that summer is already over. I wish I could take the warmth of the bedclothes with me, but I settle for the wrapper and slippers.
I have woken the dog.
She is displeased, though she follows me downstairs and into the living room, where she flops onto the couch across from me. Her head propped up on throw pillow, she keeps her eye on me. I am putting her out. She'd much prefer I sleep on the same level as the rest of the house-dwellers ... and soon … so she can relax.
I am turning nocturnal.
She is fully diurnal.
I have a headache. I think.
This happens, too. Imagined pain.
For a while, I pinch the web between my thumb and index finger with the thumb and index finger of the opposite hand. The layperson's acupressure.
My husband once recommended it.
“I feel something,” I told him. “I'm just not sure what.”
I'll give it 10 minutes … then I'll take ibuprofen.
Who am I kidding? I rattle the bottle of greenish-colored gel-caps and turn on the kitchen tap. I can't wait nine more minutes. I fill a coffee mug, pop a pill and wash it straight down.
The water will probably do more to alleviate my pain than the drug. At least, that's another thing my husband has told me he believes.
The cat scratches at the door. I let her in.
She roars at me for food. She's already been fed so I ignore her demand.
She curls up with the dog, who shifts but doesn't protest. Before long they are both snoring contentedly, like an old married couple.
I envy them.
I stop watching the clock.