Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Microstory 1872: Losing Sleep

I was a little monster as a baby. I sometimes kept my mama up all night and all day. The doctors could explain the crying—it wasn’t much more than a normal baby’s—but they couldn’t explain why I never went to sleep. Except I was crying more, because unlike most people, nothing could stop me. According to her stories, she hired a nanny to take shifts. She could have raised me on her own if not for my little peculiarity. As I grew up, I started figuring out how to express myself through other noises besides screaming, but I never did learn how to sleep. In my school, the younger children would take naps. The teacher ended up moving me over to the bookshelves, and gave me a little reading lamp, so I could keep myself busy. I wasn’t the only one who needed the extra accommodations. A boy in my class also didn’t need to nap, but in his case, it’s because he slept all the way through the night. I called him my opposite, but my mother noted that a true opposite would be in some kind of coma. There’s just something different about the way my brain works that makes it so I don’t need any sleep to function. Not only that, but I can’t sleep at all. I’ve never done it even once, which is sad, because the whole dreaming thing that people talk about sounds positively fascinating. I asked the boy to tell me his dreams, so I could live vicariously through him; which is a word we learned through a book that had no place in that classroom. He said he couldn’t remember his dreams, but the next day, he was able to regale me with his stories. He said just wanting to remember them made it so that he now could. Years later, he would admit to me that this had been a lie. He had come up with the stories on his own, because he didn’t want to disappoint me. That was so him, from start to finish.

College was difficult for me, because the schoolwork was so easy. Well, it wasn’t easy, but I had more time to study than the other students. Everybody hated me, but it’s not like I was an overachiever. I was just bored, and as much as they liked to party, at some point, they would have to go to bed, and I would still be up, so I had to do something to pass the time. I tried to have a roommate my first semester, but that didn’t work out, because I would disturb her sleep, and that wasn’t fair. Once the boy and I were married and living together, my situation saved us a little money. I was able to be productive for more hours of the day, and hell, he only needed a twin bed. Anyway, my coworkers were as jealous as my classmates. It’s just that I found it easier to do my paperwork in the dead of night when the hemisphere was asleep, and not work so hard during regular business hours. Then came the time for us to grow our family, and I was hesitant, because there was no way to know what kind of child would come out of me. Would they enjoy the same benefits? Would they have some kind of corrupted version of it that left them tired all the time? I didn’t think we could risk it, and my husband was okay with that. We chose to adopt instead, which was no problem, because there are so many other good reasons to adopt. We went to the agency to submit our application, and after some time, we were selected for a child who we were told required special needs. For reasons they couldn’t understand, this little girl never slept. Obviously, we knew we had to make her part of our family. I mean, who better than me to raise a woman like that? It was decades before science progressed enough for us to take a DNA test. Wouldn’t you know it, she was an exact match. I mean exact. I still don’t know how, but she is my twin.

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