…when Marilyn Monroe said, “Who said nights were for sleep?”
I’m really not one of those I-clean-when-I’m mad people. If you saw my house, you’d know that for sure. (Real life friends, I can hear you laughing.)
But insomnia can make strange (out-of-)bedfellows of me and cleaning tasks. I wasn’t really even upset last night, just unsettled and off in some way.
Maybe my insomnia found its legs last night when I watched The Secret Life of Bees, and my heart broke a little. Or maybe a few days before, when I couldn’t help feeling that the wind in someone else’s sails came from the kind of charmed sea breeze that I fear will never fill my own.
Or maybe it’s the image of a girl who appeared to me last week. She walked right in front of me (in my head, I’m not hallucinating. Yet.), and I see her every day now.
I have just one image of her, a rectangle of an image, with her in it. The day is warm, and she’s in a grassy yard or field, and the air around her dances and buzzes with the things that heavy summer air is thick enough to hold up – bugs, butterflies, sunlit particles of the what the day stirred up from the ground. She wears a dark, flowered dress with a full skirt and lace at the edges. She doesn’t look up at me, though she’s turned toward me and the sun behind her lights her blond hair into a curly halo. I think there’s a small dog or a cat beside her, which may be what has her attention.
That’s all I have so far, but I think I just saw her walk into my novel (it’s getting a dusting-off – which I decided was the saner choice, when the other was to shred or burn it.). She seems to be the younger version of my protagonist, but seems altogether separate from her, too.
A thing that makes sense, because most of the time, I don’t feel like the same person who lived my early years. I feel like at least three different people have lived these 40 years of my life. (But not in a way that will probably require a mental health professional to evaluate me, at least not for that.)
So I thought of her, too, last night when I couldn’t sleep. At two a.m. when I was washing the last of the pots that had collected in the sink. When I scrubbed at the cooktop. When I polished a wooden trunk that sits next to my sofa, and then when I had to get online and research its origin after opening the lid and finding the original label. (I tend to micro-obsess when I clean, rather than giving it all a once-over.)
And I thought of her again, and all the rest of it, when I swept the floor because vacuuming would have been too loud. Too loud for my kids, who slept, and too loud for me and the noise of my thoughts.
It was three o’clock before I crawled into bed next to the Girl, who had migrated to my bed hours before. I let her stay, and she snuggled into my side.
By then, the house had been quiet for hours.
And, finally, my thoughts – exhausted, wrung out like a sponge in my hands – were quiet, too.