--

You should go to bed

“You should go to bed”

I do not move my head. Just nod. I know she is right. She’s always right. That’s why she’s living with me. But oh man - sorry woman - it can be annoying living with a know-it-all. 

She nudges me so slightly, with a softly accusing voice: “You said you're gonna turn off the laptop before 10 pm”. But it’s the underlying harshness that pierces me.

“Well, I did It was 9:58. Just needed to write up some stuff after the call, do my check-in for my team. It helps them to know what I did. You know my colleague is in Indonesia. In this way he can start working directly. And then I got a notification on Telegram. It was from my community. Someone was struggling. It’s my job to reach out and help.” She’s silent. Her silent screams “I don’t give a fuck.”

I try again “The deal was that by 10 pm my laptop is off and that’s what I did.”

“You have been sitting at the edge of the bed with one sock off for the past half an hour scrolling on your phone answering messages from those online friends you never gonna see in real life!” she’s hurling at me and then retreats into her corner. 

It is silent. 

The screen on my phone switches from bright to black. 

Might as well go to bed, I think. It takes me less than ten seconds. I’m not the type to take ages to get ready for bed. No nighttime face routine or other ritual. When I’m in my “I’m a good well-adjusted human being mood”, I make myself a good-night tea, read a bit, and then turn off the light.

Tonight I’m not in a mood to do the things that are right. Tonight, I’m in the mood to do the things that feel good. I’ll be a bit more groggy tomorrow, but nothing too bad that coffee and a motivational talk in the bathroom can’t fix.

With the lights off it’s pitch black in my room. I roll over on my stomach, and grab my phone. 10:42. Not yet 11pm. I have time. I should not, but I feel that she’s not going to reappear. No one is gonna stop me. 

Tap, tap, tap I’m in my favorite app. The one that makes me feel that I’m with other people. I read human stories. I laugh at jokes. I begin with my feed, going deeper into some stories while scanning and nodding to others. A post on how low you can go to save money while traveling sucks me in. My emotional state is tossing between repulsion and shoulder shrugging. Been there, done that. You and me, we are alike, I think, feeling connected to GiantAnt451.

A whisper hangs in the air “You’re scared of the night”, the s sounds like the sizzling sound evil snakes do on kids tv shows. She’s back. 

“Oh fuck off” I think

“You’re scared of the night” she repeats. Louder,  harsher. Mocking. 

Angry that even when I’m exhausted after a day's work and taking care of other human beings, I can’t be left alone, I explode “I’m not scared of the night. I go on freacking midnight walks with my kids. We, only women, sleep in the middle of nowhere below the stars. I’m not scared of the dark, the night, or the shadows that lurk in the world around me!” 

Silence.  

“I’m not scared of the night” I mumble. I stare at my screen. NotMyName571’s story about walking 45 minutes up a mountain at noon in July in Spain to save the €3 bus fare winks at me. I’m tempted to push my thoughts away and laugh together with NotMyName571.

But the Pandora box is open. 

Try as I might, I don’t get the lid back on.

In my mind, I glance up at her. A deep breath and the formless thoughts trickle down the ravine that is my mind, to burst out of their cave and lie themselves in front of me. Naked they wait for me to pick them up. 

“I don’t want to dream about anything. I’m scared of my dreams. But, but if I just get enough blue light in me, if I just drink coffee late enough that it fucks with my brain but doesn't disturb my sleep too much, then the dreams will not come. I’m scared what my unconscious brain will cook up. Like that time I buried my kid. Or the dream when I was back with my husband. I hate those dreams. I despise them with every inch of my body. I want to banish them into the furthest corner of the universe.”

She’s silent. No harshness in her eyes. 

“Those dreams keep lingering in my mind during the day. I don’t want to go where those dreams take me. Do the inner work, revisit the traumas. I’m not a Silicon Valley bro, with money in my bank and time on my hand.”

“I don’t…” I look at all the other thoughts that are still lying in front of me. So many puzzle pieces to pick up and wonder how they fit. How are they me?

A memory flashes by. Younger me sitting on a couch, cross-legged. Outside it’s dark. The blinds are closed. The only noise is the mice scuttling below the old floorboards. The kids upstairs sound asleep oblivious to everything, lulled in their dreams. I sit and code and look at data and make graphs, and suddenly I see a horse. I might have been on it. I’m dreaming. I’m coding and dreaming. I’m coding while dreaming or dreaming while coding. It’s past 1 am and nothing makes sense. 

I turn to her, facing her fully in the darkness that is my room. 

“On that night, my brain had enough of me fearing the dreams and pushing the moment when I move from real world to dream world, that it gave up on me going to bed and decided to dream while I was awake.”

A door is opening into a closet near the 569th bend in my brain. 

No answer, no reply to this memory I’m sharing. 

“Should I enter it?” The voice in my head remains silent while the warmth of self-love melts a tear duke. And a single warm, delicate drop rolls down my face and crashes down on my pillow with a roaring blast. 

Thank you to the lovely editors on Foster and fellow creatives on Farcaster to bring this story alive and help with finding the perfect word.




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