‘and spirited from sleep, the astounded soul…’

I was close. Close to sleeping.

I don’t know what it is that does it, that wakes me in a panic, suddenly, as if I were falling asleep behind the wheel. But inevitably this kind of waking, especially when it pre-empts real sleep, shears away all the balance and I lie in a dark room with the weight of everything that’s wrong right now closing in like the trash compactor scene in Star Wars.

The mind can go in obsessive tracks, digging deep ruts so it gets harder to vault out of them. You can’t go there. And even if it’s comforting to think of your ex lost and lonely in a strange land the way you feel, it’s best not to go there either.

I let the dark happen, but try- try to think of something lovely first. The pinpricks of stars in a dazzling sky, visible glimpse of a vast universe. The mute beauty of a colored land. Words that comfort me. People I love.

But the clouds block out the stars for now. And it still hurts.

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4 thoughts on “‘and spirited from sleep, the astounded soul…’

  1. The way you let the dark happen, but first think of something lovely, seems balanced to me. I spent many days this fall, waking up like this, scared out of my own skin. And sad. The pinpricks of stars were there though. And I knew they meant hope. I wonder if we’d ever feel the joy as much without the pain. I can see a light out of the tunnel I was in. I believe in you. And now I’m thinking about the giant manta gliding along in the midnight sea.

  2. QM- Thanks for this thought. This was the last thing I read before getting suddenly very tired and sleeping a full night through for the first time in a week and a half. I find your words very reassuring.

  3. This happens to me almost every night, for reasons I don’t understand … right on the sweet edge of deep sleep, something will shock me awake in terror,and then leave me alone with my mind for hours and hours.

    It’s a strange feeling, alone in the dark. I start to imagine that life is in layers like phyllo dough … right above me, perhaps, is the layer in which I am sleeping; right below me, maybe, is the layer in which I crash my car tomorrow because I’m too tired to pay proper attention to my driving. Ten or twenty layers below … perhaps the alternate reality in which I’m still with my ex, living a life of quiet desperation, trying to revive the crumbling bones of a dead love. And perhaps fifty layers above me is a reality in which someone who loves me is watching me sleep.

  4. david- wow, to this thought… that really made my imagination go. You’re the second person who said they also experience this. Sometimes it reminds me of how an infant will startle if it’s not wrapped up in blankets, the arms thrown out, you can almost see the reaction when a baby does it, like in they’re subconscious, they suddenly start to fall.

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