Last night I had the strangest sensation that I kept forgetting to breathe, I have a bad cold so I don’t know for sure what was happening, but I’d start to fall asleep just get to the point of drifting deep into slumber when I would jerk awake, it almost felt like I was falling from the sky on to the bed, I’d come up reaching for the air and once I had it I would cough and cough. I was sure that now I was awake, I’d never get back to sleep. I wasn’t sure I’d stopped breathing so I would lay there wondering what had happened, was this true, had I stopped breathing? I was frightened and did not want to go back to sleep, but then I would, I would fall down and sleep again, 20 minutes would pass and the whole thing would begin again.
I finally did fall into a fitful sleep, one so shallow you could hear the cogs in the brain working, still puzzling out what had happened. After awhile I began to realize that I was not afraid, that I was not at all worried about anything, that I was safe, as safe as I could be living in the world I lived in, in the place I called home. If I did stop breathing here in this warm bed, on these soft sheets, alone in the pitch black darkness I was suddenly not afraid anymore of anything. I felt safe and clean and loved.
After that, I slept well for 4 hours straight, this is a long stretch of uninterrupted sleep for me, I woke up exactly on time and got ready for work in record speed. I feel strangely calm, though my chest feels heavy and constricted, like it has been bearing a great burden for a long time and it is weary.
It isn’t easy sometimes to see oneself as a writer, an artist, and hold down a full time job with something as dull as a medical billing clerk, add a cold on top of this and it can seem sometimes as if you’re deluding yourself, giving yourself false ideas of grandeur, trying to be something that you are clearly not, at least not in the eyes of the rest of the world, but something changed last night, something small, but seismic none the less. I am small and insignificant in the world, but I understand things. I understand all manner of things without words, or actions, or sounds. We all do to be sure, but I can give this to you like a gift, I can set this at your feet and you will know that darkness in the room, where I have strangled all light with thick heavy curtains and blankets under doors, with mirror’s blacked out, and alarm clocks with their digital dials removed. I can let you know what the feeling of walking up your lungs empty of air, gasping and grasping for the essential, basic element of life, that very air that suspends and sustains. I can let you know that in that moment you are for a brief and utterly beautiful split hair’s breadth of time, that exquisite now, you are beautiful and whole and want for nothing more in this world or the next. Writing matters as do you, as do I.