The lambency casting forth from the screen of my phone that lay beside me, told me that it was exactly 04:26 AM. The deep, burdensome, weight of fatigue that rested in my bones told me that I had not been asleep for nearly long enough to warrant anything called rest.
As I grew to become more awake, I could feel the sweat that had inked its way to the surface of my skin like that of a blot to paper. This, coupled with the heavy breathing and strong sense of panic, indicated that I had been forcefully awoken by yet another nightmare. This one was more audible than it was visual, but, it was none-the-less terrifying. The irritating ringing of tinnitus, punished my ears along with an orchestra of screams that came from within. That is what had woken me, screams. Those God-awful wails of the sick and injured. Bewildered and vexed by the visitation of the past and its trauma, I tore off the thin ranger blanket that I was laid beneath, and stormed angrily from my darkened bedroom, into the kitchen.
I stood by the sink while the ambient light from outside danced its way from the street lamp, through my blinds and onto my skin and counter-tops. The broken lighting did little for visual acuity but, it was enough to find my way around. I wasn’t moving much anyway. I was actually just stood in one place, listening as the water raced from the faucet. I filled my glass and gulped heavily as the rim rested between my lips. The cool liquid slid throughout the trunk of my body, alleviating some of the discomfort I was feeling within this now sweltering environment that is my apartment.
I stood for a while longer, occasionally raising the glass to my lips, and consuming a little more reasonably each time. My mind however was finding little relief with being awake. I could still hear the incessant ringing along with the screams that had so rudely invaded my slumber. The more I unwittingly concentrated on the screams, the worse things got. One by one, the faces that accompany those ghoulish howls began to appear. The distressed and grief-stricken portraits of parents that had just lost their child started floating in front of my gaze. Screams of the trapped woman in the car, and with it, the face of her dead and bloodied daughter that sat next to her. The bloated and twisted face of the hanging man, and the wails of those around him. Although far removed from the trauma themselves, safe within my kitchen, albeit sweltering, these were the only things I could see and hear…
After having enough of being tormented at my sink, I quickly threw on a shirt, a pair of shorts, and my sandals, and went outside to pace around on my roof for a while.
It was cool outside. Much cooler than inside anyway, so, a welcomed change of atmosphere. After pacing aimlessly, back and forth, I took a knee, and eventually, sat down entirely. I looked down for a moment, staring a hole through the black, tar-papered roof, and then, slowly raised my gaze skyward. I was confronted by a midnight sky, glittered with stars as far as you can see. The vastness of it all was somewhat comforting. It helped tear me away from the past, and return me to the present. There were no answers to be found in the sky, only more questions, but, at least the screams had faded into the ether. Back into the recesses of my broken mind.
I can’t tell you how long I sat on my rooftop for, but I can tell you that it was long enough to see the darkened night sky, dilute into the pale grey of a new day. I won’t lie, at that precise second, and if the circumstance were different, a nice bourbon and a crackling fire would have made that a perfect moment in time. But, the situation was what it was, and it was one that saw me, a 34-year-old-man, alone and speckled in sweat, hiding on a rooftop of a building that faded into the obscurity of the cityscape around it, wishing upon a star, that I may find some soundless sleep. Comfort and refuge from the demons that dwell within my wounded psyche.
If you are reading this, obviously it means that I came inside and indeed could not sleep (yet, anyway), and decided to release venom in the form of letters to screen. And now, now that I’m done writing, and you are finished reading, wish me luck, wish me rest, wish for me all good things – I tried, seems none of the stars I saw tonight were mine… maybe some other time…
Good night everyone.