Sunday, June 7, 2009

The promise of sleep

Come night, each of us lies down alone in the dark. Day is done. The worries, the struggle, the shopping, the traffic, the small talk. Done. The incessant noise. Done. You lock the doors and shut the windows. Those people close to you slip away and the others, who were never really there anyway, disappear. Through the windows you see nothing outside. Blackness. Who knows what's going on out there? You remember that white is the color of absence but the thought holds no comfort. Black can be terrible too.

If there is music, it comes from somewhere else. Perhaps the faint tinkling of a neighbor's wind-chime. If something falls off a shelf in the kitchen with a clatter, it's gravity or fate that caused it to fall, for you're all alone now. They say it's a twenty-four seven world, but who cares when you're finally alone in the dark? Let someone else keep their lights on.

Here, no one can tell that you're thinking terrible thoughts. They don't know that you are plotting against the world. They can't see your emotions. You are finally blessed with anonymity. They say it is a terrible thing to be alone, but you don't agree. It's not always true. You put away the bright feathers of the day and lie still. Then there comes the slow unloosening of the knot and you tumble to the bottom of the well. It's a long way down into the damp quiet. Now you can finally dream undisturbed.

But you're wrong. You hear that sound? It's Mr. Debt. Uh-oh, Mr. Debt is coming. Carrying his heavy ledger. He's crossing the inky river. Coming closer. That sick soft sound -- it's the plash as his pole moves in the jet-black water. Where is he now? He sees you but you can't see him. He's close enough for you to hear his breathing. You only thought you were alone. Mr. Debt is almost here. You can smell him. This is no dream.

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