The Struggle to Sleep

Breath, she inhales, a pungent smell of both sweat and worn clothes reaches her. In between the smell, the tiny room and the three people she shared it with, existed her tiny world. Her bed, a slew of books on the plastic box beside her bed and a small pink teddy bear. She started sleeping with it as her nightmares began. The faces and memories meshed together, of a land she’d left behind. They have since dissipated but she still can’t sleep without it. She lays down now with her fluffy companion held in the crevice of her left elbow. She holds on to it subconsciously now sometimes even in the night when it would fall on the floor, her arms automatically knows what to do. She’d pull it back to her chest, inhale it’s smell and close her eyes.

As her eyes started to close and sleep came in ready to take her away, she attempted one last time. Tell me a story, her thoughts begged. Okay, she searched her brain for a shred of imagination that would take flight. She thought carefully so as to not step on the scary thoughts. Carefully and slowly she started planning. A feeble structure stood on the soil of her carefully planned imagination: her story. She pictured a love story this time. Just last her childhood, she wanted that feeling to encapsulate her, but there was a block. Her hero didn’t feel like a hero, his face would morph into that of a predator, face merciless and eyes cold. Her heroine just wouldn’t let her self be swept away on her feet. They both stood awkwardly and she erased that structure. Sleep was enveloping her senses now. She held on to her teddy bear and took another chance.

This time she built a structure not on fantasy but hope. It was a bit awkward at first. Her mind struggled with the idea of pushing through the clouds of hopelessness to grab hold of this strand of idea. She picked her first pick, a room. A room in a house of her own. A small back yard, with a mango tree in the corner. Like one back home. There would be mountains and a silent lake. The patio where she’d sip iced tea and the pictures on the wall adjacent to the stairs would be filled with pictures. Of hers and her family’s. There would be weekly trips to the nearby zoo. There would also be people. So many people amidst whom her voice won’t feel silenced. She’d speak as loudly and proudly as she can. A smile reached her lips as she felt the strength of the structure. It was a story that she wanted to tell. It was a story she wanted to come to life. Her body now calm, drifted to sleep.


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