Filter of Insomnia

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Every night, she wakes. Her eyelids flutter open and adjust from a chasm of black to flickering lights cast on her ceiling. She leaves her shutters open for this reason. The windows of her room face west towards a cluster of neon signs. An array of colors and the bold head and tail lights of the cars below her apartment combine. This results in an ever-changing mural of various colored lights on her ceiling. On and off, neon lights and intense headlights fade into dimming tail lights. Raindrops that race down the window distort the colors. She hears the song of the city, the same song it sings every night. It is sung by different people, but the same message is relayed, "we will not sleep until memories are made." In her own sleeplessness, she feels cold sheets on her oversized mattress and turns on her side. As always, there is just more empty mattress.


Something about this particular night made her pulse quicken as she was laid there. She could feel the electricity in the air filling her lungs. It wasn't enough to stare at the flickering lights above her tonight; she wanted to see their source. She swings her legs out of bed and pulls herself from the tangle of sheets, crossing her room to the bathroom and hitting the light on. The cold tile sends shivers up her legs as she stands there leaning against the counter. She spares a moment to brush through her dark hair before throwing on the same clothes she'd left on the floor earlier. Disregarding her appearance, she flees her apartment.


Where she wants to go, she isn't sure; flying down the apartment stairs and out onto the brightly lit sidewalk. The sky is a midnight black, but from her room she could never have been able to tell. She has a full view of the neon signs that cast their colors in through her windows and for a moment thinks of turning back, for she had never abandoned their visit to her room. But she hears music coming from behind a car door that hasbeen propped open. Again, she thinks of the song the city sang and how she'd only ever heard it filtered through her walls. Taking a final glance at her apartment windows three floors up, she turns away towards the unknown night.


The smell of the passing rain fills her nose and reminds her of the countless storms she'd danced in as child. Having become so much more reserved since then, she realized her lack of sleep had changed her more than she'd liked. However, out in the clean air tonight, she was feeling the city pulling her in a million different directions. She was half running, trinket and sandwich shops passing in a blur. She was looking up at the bright lights of the building around her. What time was it? She didn't know; she never checked the clock next to her bed when she woke up in the night. It only irritated her because she could never sleep through the night anymore. But resentful is not how she feels on this night, seeing the lit up shops filled with other insomniatics and party goers.


She slows down as she comes across a large group of people exiting a restaurant. Their faces are painted with foreign expressions of certainty, as if they knew the meaning of life and were rejoicing in what she didn't know. Two of these people are holding hands. Their smiles are big as they cast each other repeated glances, laughing when they make eye contact with each other. She can't help but stare at their faces as she walks around them. She makes no effort to conceal her obvious observation as she continues walking and is unaware of the blue jeaned man walking towards her. Blue Jeans is staring at the back of a gray book in his hands and is also unaware that he is going to collide with someone. But she can't seem to look away from their faces; their euphoric expresssions. A car horn blares on the road off to her side and she spins around just in time to run into Blue Jeans-


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Tonight, she wakes. There is a faint glow from his alarm clock. She glances at it; it is 3:18 in the morning. He is lying on his side; facing her; eyes moving under closed lids in deep sleep. She lays back down and looks at him, her own eyes feeling heavy again. She begins the process of thought that most people do before they fall asleep.  What time am I going in to work tomorrow? I should call my mom in the morning. i think i'll have him fix the leg on the kitchen chair tomorrow. Did I get his blue jeans in this last load of laundry that I did? Why can't he do his own laundry? Are couples obligated to do each other's laundry after the three year mark or something? His hair looks ridiculously messy. Maybe I should cut it for him tomorrow.... no, it's cute.


She slips her hand into his and shifts onto her back. Unconsciousness was tugging at her brain. She begins to stare at the ceiling, black with shadows. Even if the heavy curtains weren't drawn over the windows, there were no neon signs to paint the ceiling. All there was outside their bedroom was the raw moonlight and the dead silence of the trees. He had the idea to move out here, and she ended up loving it. All the energy of the city gave way to the celestial peace of the country. There was no other pulse here but his, and the only song that was sung was their slow breathing as they slept.


 


 


 


So originally, this was a creative writing assignment I turned in. After receiving many compliments and some constructive criticism, I got around to editing it. This was the first pieces i've ever had to share in a public setting, so i'm really proud of it. I'm curious to see if anyone can remix this. People who live in the city, you have the perfect setting to grab audio and visual recordings! If you've got it, don't hesitate to remix! 


 

Created: Mar 01, 2014

Tags: story, fiction

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