I’m floating when I close my eyes


I’m floating when I close my eyes.

The lights are too bright. The room is too quiet. The air is too cool.

And I am floating. Aimlessly spinning around in my own mind, paradoxically thinking of everything and nothing. In the midst, a question twists and turns its way to me. What was I working on? I had something I wanted to say, something I desperately needed to do. What was that something?

The question zips away unanswered. Where did it go? Should I go there?

I am everywhere and nowhere. I am trapped in the lethargic, lightless dark and in the alabaster, shocking light. I am six years old running around on the playground, and I am 26 working at a future job. Job. I was doing a job before my eyes fluttered shut. What was that task?

I am floating when I close my eyes.

Is it possible for my mind to go into hibernation? I think it is. I can barely think straight. It’s like trying to walk on a raised beam after spinning in circles for five minutes. And someone is throwing pencils at me. And instead of being above the floor, I’m above a pool. And the pool is full of octopus. Or is it octopi?

There. It went quiet again. Too quiet. But only for a moment as ringing fills my ears. I am only one who hears it. My thoughts are ringing in my mind. They chime and echo, bouncing off the cavern I picture the inside of my head to be. Everything changes again, and a peaceful roaring drowns the ring.

I am at the bottom of the opaque ocean. I feel distant, yet I can sense my surroundings. I am wading through the churning water, perfectly aware of what is happening but not processing it. My face breaks the surface, and the cool air flys down my lungs.

My eyes are open. They burn with exhaustion as they refocus on the paper in front of me. Every blink is a workout, a test of will and motivation. What if I just linger in this blink for one more second? Two more seconds? Five more seconds?

I am floating when I close my eyes.

Sleep is for the weak. It becomes a chant in my head as I prepare to wrench my eyes open again. I am not weak. I have things to do, things to succeed at. I will not be weak, and I will not fail. Sleep is for the weak, not the week.

I can sleep later. Now is work time. Sleep is calling to me. I try to ignore her and open my eyes. She still calls to me, for me. Her welcome embrace keeps my eyes closed for just a while longer. I can feel my surroundings leaving me.

I am floating when I close my eyes.

Her grip on me is broken as my phone buzzes. A text message appears below the time. It’s 12:30 in the morning. Why aren’t I asleep? That thing I was working on. Homework. Right.

My phone drops from my hand to my bed, dropping as heavy as my eyelids every blink. I should finish my homework. I need to finish my homework.

Homework. Home. Work. Work at home. Why am I doing work at home? Work is for school. I am not at school; I am at home. Home is for sleep. I should sleep.

I am floating when I close my eyes.