The Unknown

That critical, crucial beautiful moment when you fall into sleep. Your pillows are positioned just right (as a single lady with a whole bed to myself, this is very important), the room is the perfect temperature. It’s dark. It’s quiet. And you can feel it, the thoughts in your  mind are draining into nonsense, into pictures and images that don’t make sense in your waking life. There they are, just in front of you, you are aware only for a few seconds more and then

And then I hear a noise that I can’t explain. A noise I can’t reason away immediately. My eyes are open, my back is tense. Suddenly, the dark that was comforting seconds ago is alien and strange, nerve-racking.

Was it me? Sometimes, you make weird noises in the back of your throat, out of your nose, in your stomach as everything relaxes for sleep. There’s the noise again, I’m conscious, it definitely wasn’t me.

I sit up, I turn on the light. I check nook and crannies. Nothing. No creatures or ghosts or anything somewhat living which could be the source of the noise. I get back in bed. I get comfortable again. I turn off the light. A few moments pass as I try to rehear the noise in my mind. Maybe it was the radiator. Radiators are new to me. It was probably the radiator. The heat has been on as the first snows touch down in Wisco.

But there it is again. This gurgle, this creak, this hum. This time I can easily identify the direction it’s coming from. Behind me, close to my head. I turn. It has to be the alarm clock. The digital Sony Dream Machine I bought from Target in 2008. I check the dial–it’s off. The alarm isn’t halfway on or off, the radio isn’t halfway on or off. Why is it making noise? I can’t explain it. I had an old alarm clock that would turn on by itself sometimes because the buttons and switches were weak and would slide to half-on positions, thus triggering noise. This alarm clock is still young and I can’t recall it ever making noise before. So, what is this?

I get up and pour myself a glass of water. I walk around to shake out the tension in my back and my arms. Noises, that’s all. Strange noises. I can’t shake that feeling though, that my space isn’t my own.

And then, like a child, I keep the lamp on for comfort, pull the blanket over my head and let my exhaustion take me away. I pop awake a few times, to scan the room, check the clock, anything to reassure my sense of comfort. A few hours later, I finally reach over and turn off the light. This is ridiculous. I wake up feeling groggy and achy and unrested. I need coffee and a cold glass of water and to be taken far away from this feeling of intrusion.

Everything is better in the daylight.

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