Sophomoric Insomniac

There are insects in my skin. Crawling all night. My head has a heartbeat.

My eyes are slits. No more, no less. They can’t open wider… and they definitely can’t close.

I can’t write.

My mind is like a dense fog. Things come in and out. But I can’t sustain deep analytical thought processes anymore.

I lay awake in terror.

Sometimes I drift into a wearisome slumber.

But I always wake up. It’s the demons lurking.

I wake up at four, the worst hour of the early morning.

I toss and turn for half an hour until I throw the blanket across the bed in agitation and stumble in the cold darkness to the bathroom.

An offbeat hum perpetuates through space like an out-of-key record player.

And suddenly, my heart thumps in my head and I know the demons are there again.

I’m exposed, naked in the middle of the dark room. A cold florescent bulb shines like a prison search light through the cracks of the crooked window blinds.

With a pounding heart, I dash into the bathroom, thrusting the sink handle up and slurping up the murky water with all of my might.

I can’t breathe!

Sucking in a gust of air, I will my pulsating chest to subside, to disappear. For the demons to retreat back to their underground caverns.

In an instant, I scurry out of the bathroom. Scurrying like a rodent through a silent city alley way. Twilight is still, and only the sound of claws clicking on the cobblestone echoes through the narrow passage… A brisk click, click, click bouncing off the buildings, the fire escapes, the ice on the gray pavement. Through the dark and through the cracks. I don’t look forward and I don’t look back.

Finally, I reach my bed, next to the window… an invasion of searchlights upon me. I must take cover!

I dive underneath the heavy blankets, pulling them over my face but leaving room for the slits of my eyes to scan the room.

The whites of my eyes reflect like frozen mirrors against the deep charcoal walls.

The demons know I’m here, but they’ve left for the night.

While I lay petrified in the darkness, desperately waiting for morning, I realize –

Somewhere the sun shines, a palm tree blows in an aqua wind

And it’s under that palm

That you’re reading this – in the light.

January 25, 2009


Chelsea Kate Isaacs

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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.