Close your eyes.
Imagine a white room.
There are objects in the white room.
Each object represents something in your life that worries or stresses you. Each object binds you to the external world. Each object stands for something that keeps your mind active, keeps you worrying, keeps you awake.
Imagine a white room.
I really am trying. My eyes are tight, eyelashes stuck to my cheek.
(I can feel the blood trickling through the veins in my sclera, sucking itself from end to end like cherryade through a drinking straw.)
I have my toes resting on my knees like a good little lotus, my fingers resting on top of them making the ‘ok’ sign.
This is a hard trick. It takes concentration. It takes effort to clear your thoughts from a metaphorical room (Jean’s room, tidy but never clean.)
What if I fall asleep upright? Will my neck break?
You ever see spiders playing dead? They roll onto their backs and cradle their bodies inside a disjointed prison that they’ve made with their own limbs. Their legs bend back at jaunty angles, crooked at the knees.
A spider ran at me once whilst I was sat on the toilet. I was reading an encyclopedia at the time, just flicking through, and in my panic I hit the spider with the spine of it. He curled up into a crumpled ball in the middle of the pink bathroom mat. I thought he was dead, but by the morning he had moved on, not leaving a trace.
In the grand cosmic metaphor of it all, we’re all just bristly little gymnasts looking to be left alone.
The white room is flying over the sea.
Objects that represent your daily life are sitting in the white room.
There is a door in the white room.
There are windows.
Using your imagination, remove each object from your room one by one. Throw them out of the door. Pour them out of the window.
Clear your mind.
Throw it all into the sea.
My laptop is drowning. My journals are dissolving like sugar paper. White birds come from nowhere and lift up the corners of my bookcase, shaking it out into the ocean as one would air out a bed sheet. My memories are eating sand. The people I have loved are unsmiling shop-window cutouts, rolling along the waves of a mythical sea.
How far do I have to go? It seems like this means more than just Sleep. Every night do I need to be new, need to empty myself out like a clogged up sea-shell? How far do I have to go before it’s just me that’s left?
I can never make my sea deep enough because I don’t wish to drown. I’m not Ophelia. I’m really not.
I don’t hold flowers neither.
I just can’t sleep.
(White isn’t a colour, it’s an absence.
Put a tick against my name. Use a bright red pen.
I’m right here. For always.)