Will This Nightmare Never End?


My head – my mind – is in a terrible mess. I can sleep but not for long periods. I’m woken every few hours by the fractious nature of my lucid and distressing dreams.

I adopt a resigned attitude conceding that there is no point fighting this. I can’t win on this current battlefield. Better to wait it out, take a different approach, perhaps wait for exhaustion itself to overcome me. Maybe then a deeper dreamless sleep will have its way with me. Until then…

The sound of sex being played out, my young neighbour and her new boyfriend, somehow finds a way to break through from next door, invading my space and taunting my free will. The walls offer a tainted resistance only partially muffling the sounds of the couple’s ecstatically charged moans and the rhythmic rattle of their bed-frame.

Through the open bedroom window I also hear the constant hum of distant traffic. There is never a moment when there are no vehicles on the road. Always someone not too far away is driving by. Always a ceaseless charge – cold metal scything through the morning air. A tireless whooshing slipstream of shifting, shapeless sound. Always a broken silence. Never a simple calm.

Occasionally, much closer, the chink and clank of a doorway being negotiated. The opening and closing of someone’s heavy front door. A singular set of footsteps as someone somewhere braves the twilight to head off towards their intended destination.

At 5:27 the first birdsong. Brief but distinguished, it cuts cleanly through the air. Just for a moment, as if to say ‘it’s morning.’

An alarm sounds. Perhaps a car, perhaps attached to a building, but like the bird it too makes its presence known in a vivid yet brief outbreak. No more than a few seconds pass before it can be heard no more.

This damn tinnitus. Why won’t it just go away? If I breath deeply for a period it tends to ease slightly but the extra oxygenation that my body experiences I’m sure is fuel for my lucid dreams. Dreams that are wild and torturous. Never happy, always unsettling and an imprisonment for my hapless soul. Repeatedly in this other-worldly dimension I am caught up in wild or ugly debate with someone or find myself an unwilling witness of erratic or disagreeable circumstances. It seems that there is no safe place for me awake or asleep. No peace in either state.

I wish I had never smoked. Ever. In my entire life. Not cigarettes nor weed nor vapes. Nothing. It must be to blame I think for my high blood pressure. And perhaps for this damn tinnitus which now plagues me constantly.

As I lie there on my back I gather a lung full of air and blow it out so hard that the gust shakes the tassels of the light-shade that hangs from the ceiling above me. My head goes light and feels suddenly warm as I watch the soft twinkling and subtle swaying of the silver coated teardrop shapes that decorate each of the hanging strips which clothe the light-shade’s surround. It’s a moment of both trepidation and light entertainment. I’m sure that I feel a wheezing in my chest as I draw the air in deeply. I’m sure that I may faint if I were to repeat the exercise. I’m surprised though that I was able to blow out with such force that I could actually, from my position in my bed, cause the light-shade above to dance for me, if only momentarily.

But then, so what? Nothing positive has really been established. There is no Doctor present to tell me that I’ve ‘passed the test’ and my lungs are fine. Just a foolish waste of time embarked upon. There is no profit. I am no better off now than when this episode began.

At 6:18 the birdsong returns. This time it is eloquent and longer lasting. I marvel at their intricate tuneful essence and the wondrous complexity of this magnificent and admirable oral presentation. Is it a Blackbird? I think not although I’ve always found that species to be amongst the most beautiful when it comes to song. But no, these birds sound so close. As if they are emerging from the eaves of the surrounding buildings, almost within reach and perhaps also within sight if I were to make an effort to search them out. And they sound, despite being so strong in voice, to be like those tiny birds that flutter about with such a brisk swiftness that you could never hope to catch one by hand if you tried a million times.

The morning light though yet tinged with the paleness of a cold but peaceful blue, begins to reveal the colours of the dirt-sand brickwork chimney structures and tar-black roof tops which blanket the estate. Through my bedroom window the new day gradually begins to make its presence known.

To my surprise the birdsong has subsided. I’m sure that it will return in earnest sometime soon.