darkness my old friend
February 23, 2002 08:23 PM

remembering when i saw your face,
shining my way, pure timing.
now i've fallen in deep, slow silent sleep.
it's killing me, i'm dying.

I've this song trapped in my head. It's one of those pieces of music whose lyrics don't matter and whose timbre could be either uplifting or sad, depending. Depending, I guess, on you the listener. Tonight I think it's sad.

Some years ago I had insomnia nearly every night. I built a little nest for myself next to my books and would curl up there with quiet music and think of rain. Soft and warm, continuing, tapping on my roof and walls. Particularly Simon & Garfunkel's Sounds of Silence, a cassette from the year I was born.

[I am named for a Simon & Garfunkel song. My parents have said that. And that I was named for a Three Dog Night Song, spring in Michiana, or nothing in particular. I'm not sure even they know why they named me. Baby name books say I mean "springtime", but, Latin scholar that I am [ha!] I know better. I mean doorway. I am a portal unto myself. Or something.]

Before the insomnia came months of wanting to sleep always, as long as I could. Fourteen and sixteen hour nights (which, of course, blurred into days). Constant sleeping just seems to me like an act of desperation. I was a sad grey girl, but my dreams were flourescent. They were quests filled with water and colors and people speaking languages I was just beginning to know. I had amazing dreams.

And then I stopped sleeping. I got happy, got emotional. I stopped sleeping slowly, though. Nights of sleep just came later. I never guessed the source of that slow sleep. The progressively later and later nights. They came, they stayed awhile. Then they just went away, and I started sleeping in my nest. And in other nests I built and stocked with books or hands or rich-smelling pillows. I slept in cars and rooms with other people.

To tell the truth, I miss them just a little, the sleepless nights. Miss my introversion that they represent. Now, being alone in the dark is nearly enough to make me cry.

Tonight, last night. I've been alone and proudly stayed up for hours past anything that could ordinarily be called a bedtime. When I'm alone now, I tend to pick something that I miss doing on my own and, well, do it. And anyhow, it's February, time for change. I used to miss my ability to be alone, but I think sometimes what I miss might just be being alone. That maybe I've never lost the ability.

I don't sleep well alone. I'm not sure, excepting childhood and the period of flourescent dreams, that I've ever slept well alone. That once-nightly insomnia was punctured by nights falling asleep to movies (and often waking to leave friends and go home to more insomnia) and broken finally by the forced partnership of college roomates.

It's possible that I need another person needing to sleep. In order to sleep myself, that is. I mean, eventually exhaustion takes over, but often not before dawn. Unless.

Unless I find a little quiet music and make a nest.

april come she will
when streams are ripe and swelled with rain
may she will stay
resting in my arms again
june she'll change her tune
in restless walk she'll prowl the night
july she will fly
and give no warning to her flight
august die she must
the autumn winds blow chilly and cold
september i remember
a love once new has now grown cold

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