Sleepwriting

 

The light tones of grey in the morning. Another sunrise behind a ceiling of cloud. Tan window, its own light within it, the only color I can see. The mangled fingers of the short branches lay still while the tall ones, vertical and proud, shift with the searching wind. It’s too still, too quiet. Not that I wish for anything to happen just yet. There is a leaking sound somewhere, signifying melt. It’s to rain today, I think, if it hasn’t already. I’d just woken up, and I refused to look at the ground for evidence.

I close my eyes to feel my tiredness clutch to me like a frightened lover. I nod off and wake just as quick; the apartment building window still glows, the brick swims against my eyes. I hear cars traveling up and down Broadway. Somewhere miles away, an airplane makes its way toward O’Hare.

I listen for animals or birds but only hear my laptop chirp. Another plane, this time closer and cutting the air with a growing roar.

I awake from nodding off again, not realizing when it’d happened. Where was I? Oh, nothing, I dumbly answer. The window across the way from me has gone from tan to beige to creme, and I realize then that it’s not the window light that’s changing but the daylight mounting brightly against the clouds that causes the change. I feel good about this. There is a house that sits between my apartment building and the next. My window overlooks their driveway and what little backyard they have—a wooden table with two deck chairs, both looking homemade and rural; a replica of a water pump, chipped red; two tiny wooden signs I can’t read but I assume say something like Home Is Love or Let Your Dreams Grow In Your Heart; a lattice set against the garage; and a short and twisted tree that once and will one day again cover the table and chairs with shade. I look up and see the window is almost completely the color of the lightless others. Or perhaps the light within it has switched off.

I forgot how wonderful it is to write exhausted, to have your head sway in warmth, your eyes blink slow, your body sag, a blanket over your shoulders; and yet despite this, there’s an energy to write, there’s a fire for words and thoughts, and there’s a succinct agitation to get the thing done right as opposed to typing gibberish. An odd-found balance is discovered and exercised. Sleepwriting: traversing between consciousness and sleep, between light and shade, between intention and accident. I read somewhere that when Einstein laid down to ponder his gargantuan ideas, he would tie a rubber ball to his finger and hold it, dozing and thinking. When he fell asleep, the ball would roll and tug him awake. Walking this road of sleepiness, teetering between release and control, images and words flutter up to us more boldly, and we have more of an acceptance to let them come. It is nearly devoid of ego. Children play in this mood, though they’re fully awake and running around. We adults must unbury and break the long-grown, twisted, and stubborn weeds of this adultness so that we can allow the childhood flowers in us to grow and expand to the sun. Sleepwriting.

I take in a breath so deep it pinches the top of my chest. I hold it, and when I let it out, I feel the entirety of my body let go. Everything, letting go. Something inside of my skull unclenches, and I feel my face fall, my tongue soften.

A bird caws! My eyes snap from the screen to search outside my tiny window for movement. A crow? It was so close! A crow then, because I read somewhere that crows are powerful and mischievous, which is exactly what I want to be. I’m writing for that crow now, since he happened to show up. I suspected I’d heard a twittering earlier, just when I’d sat down in the dark to write. I didn’t think there were any birds around. But then, I also didn’t think I’d get any writing done today.

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