It is late, so late, and I haunt the halls of my own mind.
I was a never a good sleeper, never that child who slept easily through the night, and as a teenager, the hours of my sleep slipped from nine to eight to six to less than. Part of it was from having an active mind, an unsettled one, and so I had to pour it into words on paper: poems and novellas and short stories and musings, never meant to be unearthed or read again.
(Foolish we are as children especially when there are parents who are apt to putter softly about, too curious for their own good, too naive to recognize that they may find answers to questions they never wanted to ask)
It didn’t change in college. My first semester was a life upside-down. I slept during the day, sleepwalked through too many classes, in late and out later, and then stayed up all hours of the night, scouring the Internet for fanfiction and for hope, for something, anything, that would tire this brain and force rest on this weary soul.
I never did find it. The web was, and remains, a black hole, an abyss. It is Dante’s Inferno, digitized, and so much I have seen and have read I cannot un-see, cannot un-read, and therefore cannot un-know. The pit of humanity has found its place between the ones and the zeroes and the flat, stark hours before the dawn.
The sheer exhaustion of living, and the development of a ‘healthy’ taste for the devil rums that are accessed across wooden bars and held in stoppered glass-bottles, finally, mercifully, gave me opportunity to sleep. Add to the mix a filthy gym habit and here, now, a recipe for rest, a recipe that I could follow that would keep me alive longer than what I had been planning on, longer than what had been meted out for me.
And now that recipe no longer works. None of it works. Not turning my phones off or to “do not disturb” so that I no longer anticipate the ringing and the beeping. Not reading to exhaustion; dancing to exhaustion; hot showers; a cup of tea; light exercise with a 90 minute hard stop; there has never been a television screen; turning off the computer early; a quiet space and no lights–
Nothing, nothing, nothing works because the halls of my mind echo, they echo with regrets and recriminations, they echo with what ifs and maybes, they echo with all the thoughts I have been hiding, have been burying, for more years than healthy, for more years than you could even imagine.
I am so very tired of this hard living. I am so very tired of knowing the road ahead is as rough as the road behind. I feel, no, I know I am being punished. For I have sinned, greatly, and this is the retribution, this is the reward.
You always reap what you sow and all I can think, now, as I turn up the picture frames of times and people gone by, and I unearth the scribblings of a solitary, contained youth, as I dig up the bodies I have left in isolated, random cemeteries all over the world, all over the dreamscape, is that this is exactly what I deserve for all the damage and destruction I wrought.
I cannot sleep for there is a piper I must keep paying.