Page 69 - November 2020
P. 69

November 2020           69

                                                  Strategies of Sleeping

               He  buried  his  head  deeper  into  the  pillow  and  continued  to  slow  his  breathing.
               After a few more minutes, he was still restless. Jim focused on his mind and tried
               to clear it completely. He imagined it as a canvas and every thought stitched to it
               in  a  kind  of  quilt  or  tapestry.    Jim  went  and  ripped  it  to  pieces,  removing  all
               thoughts  until  he  was  left  imagining  an  empty  screen.  He  pictured  the  day’s
               experiences, worries, and even hopes beings cut out and bundled away. Happy or
               sad,  these  thoughts  had  to  be  bracketed  away.  Once  everything  seemed  to  be
               clear, Jim tried again to plunge himself into sleep as if it was a body of water. All
               he had to do was move himself under the surface and become submerged. Yet,
               this visualization scheme did not work for him. Jim merely remained floating on
               top of the dark recesses he wanted to become one with.

               He opened his eyes and debated taking something to calm him down so he could
               sleep. It was all right, he told himself, he had coffee at breakfast and a soda in lieu
               of lunch at the museum. The cafeteria was more expensive than he anticipated.
               There was also an aspirin. He bought it near the hotel and popped it in his mouth
               in the elevator. To wash it down he used the complimentary water container in the
               lobby. It was filled with ice and slices of lemon. All of these had conspired to make
               him nervous, Jim felt. He put his hand on his chest. His heartbeat was normal and
               any sense of anxiety seemed to be localized in his head, which still hurt.

               Jim  considered  his  options.  What  could  he  take  to  counter  the  effects  of  these
               substances he had ingested? None of them were appealing and each one brought
               their own problems. There was alcohol, the old standby. It was expensive too, and
               the  sleep  it  provided  was  like  a  loan.  Whatever  he  gained  in  the  afternoon  he

               would lose at night. The grape-flavored cough syrup in his travel bag was another
               option.,  but  Jim  did  not  want  to  break  the  child-proof  seal  for  such  a  minor
               condition.  He  worried  that  it  might  bring  back  certain  problems  he  had  in  high
               school as a near-delinquent. Finally there was some decongestant medication. It
               might clear out his head and sinuses. It could also cause problems for him. He
               remembered  what  using  too  many  soporifics  did  to  his  mother.  Jim  could
               remember her sleepwalking all through his childhood.

               With  chemical  solutions  put  aside,  Jim  tried  to  use  the  simple  remedies  of  his
               youth. He laid back on his pillow, closed his eyes, and started to count sheep. In
               his mind, he pictured them jumping over a fence in a field. It had been years since
               he counted the fluffy white creatures and let boredom do its work. Jim made sure
               that the scene was a simple one.
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