Sleep so shallow

Insomnia again. I was too tired to be awake, but also too tired to fall asleep. I'd gotten an hour of sleep before midnight, and a couple hours more between two and four, but since then, nothing. 

And I was wheezing, from maybe mucus or a chicken wing in my upper lung. An ever-so-slight whistle came, every time I exhaled. Twice I'd tried to cough it away, but it would've required the kind of cough where you take a big breath and rattle the whole world. I was too tired to bother.

I simply laid there, awake but wishing I wasn't, counting my chicken-wing whistles as if they were sheep. Same as counting sheep, it didn't work.

After a hundred wheezes, still counting, I needed to pee, and walked dripping to the toilet. As my piss started splashing the water, I remembered an adventure from very long ago...

I'd been exploring a cavernous old movie palace, out of business and in ruins. Debris was scattered over the floor — ripped-out seats, chunks of the ceiling, etc — so instead of walking I bounced like a rubber ball. Touching down at a spot of uncluttered carpet, I sprang up again and floated over ancient popcorn boxes and beer cans left by other explorers, then came down at another clear floor space, and bounced off again. One bounce flew me over a corpse in an usher's uniform.

Still peeing, another detail came to mind — between bounces in that abandoned theater, I'd heard myself wheezing.

And that's the moment, there at the toilet, when I realized it's not possible to bounce as I'd remembered bouncing in that shuttered cinema, so it hadn't happened.

Instead, I'd fallen asleep at some point counting wheezes, which amazes me. It had been the shallowest sleep of my life. Who knew sleep so shallow was possible? If I hadn't heard my wheezing in my dream, I'd never have known I'd slept at all.

As the toilet flushed, I gathered my lazy strength and took a breath, and let loose with a long-delayed major league cough. Then my wheezing was gone.

With all the effort of that cough, though, plus walking to the john and back, I'm awake. No more of the shallowest sleep ever known to a human. Another grueling day of doing nothing is underway.

Jeez, I'm still so sleepy, though. So dang tired, but not tired enough to sleep. 



  1. I have had major cycles of insomnia throughout my life...lasting weeks. Until I started listening to scary stories on Youtube about three years ago. I was amazed at how well they put me to sleep...not because they're boring, but because they draw you in, then BOOM! I fall asleep. There are tons of superb narrators of spooky tales there, so easy to find 'em.

    1. I've had some success with old-time radio, especially Gunsmoke. Like you said, it's not because they're boring, and they're really not, but I fall asleep, and then listen to the rest of the story the next morning.

      Haven't tried scary stories yet, but that might be fun. Any particular links you'd recommend?


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