"What hath night to do with sleep?"
It’s thrilling when my hallucinations return--that first hand reaching out in the darkness; the glowing balls of soft pink light meandering, floating back into the air around me; the things watching from my closet, from my desk chair, from the floor; my bed filled with snakes. And those eyes, that pair of Green Eyes scintillating in dark corners; Green Eyes that have followed me from house to house, state to state, country to country.
Thrilling and terrifying.
The days and nights become less monotonous, the insomnia less tedious and boring. Shadows take form and substance. Antiquated music plays softly in the background of waking that becomes more and more like dreaming, like nightmaring. Something slithers across the floor, and I know I’m losing what little bit of my mind I have left.
That piece of mind I cling to, that bit I call reality, that I call real, that I call “me” is slipping, dripping, running, but there’s not enough grey matter, no sizable enough chunks of self to get caught in the cloth. I watch myself strain, drain, and dribble away. A disembodied voice gasps my name in my ear, and the slow drip of self dials up to worrisome leak.
Do I let it go? Do I let myself go? Do I hold my hands cupped under my mind and hope that what I catch is enough to get me through? How much longer can I carry myself this way? How long, how much, how well can I continue to hold?
And what happens when my hands cramp and fall open?
When I stare at the liquid remnants of myself spread out in the sink, the sores and pruning on my palms, the drain gaping parched and ready, do I bother to save what I see? Is it worth it? Will it matter if I scramble to scoop up what is already beginning to evaporate? See my hands drying, cracking.
A council of shadows convenes at the foot of my bed but I cannot hear what they say. I only know it is better not to hear. I only wish I could move. My body is an enemy unto itself.
Green Eyes is established in its corner. There is chatter in the air. I am disappeared into visions and sounds.
Will I come back from it this time?
I ask myself every time.
I am crying out to myself for help but I am plummeting with too great a speed to catch up to me. I see it all. I feel it all. I am pursued and consumed on all sides by my own mind. I am too close to the situation. I am the situation. I am subject and object. I am the thing hovering across the room.
And if I feel and perceive and experience and believe, who’s to say it isn’t fucking real? It’s real to me, and what little there is of me is all I possess.
I stare into the unblinking eyes of my oldest companion and those eyes stare back. Perhaps I’ve misunderstood this portent all these years. Perhaps I’ve named “sinister”, “omen”, “demon”, "evil" what is instead “messenger”, “reminder”, “daemon”, "indifferent". I’ve never had skill in seeing signs, in reading the shape of spilled water, in divining static and sound.
What if I am not paralyzed by these things, but by my misunderstanding of them? What lessons, truths, discoveries am I missing while clinging to fear--that oldest and strongest feeling and state-of-being from my earliest memories of being alive? What if I release the paralysis from my body? What if...
I stop and breathe. Breathe and stop. I find the center.
To the shadows and whispers and forms and tunes and snakes and lights, to those Green Eyes I say, “speak, visions and sounds, for your friend is listening.”
What else am I going to do at 3 am on a Saturday, sleepless and weary in bed?
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© Alessandra Ragusin 2016-2020