Even the air felt unsettled.  A cold, autumn wind had driven the first shower of leaves into a wild fury and they seethed like angry bees around the half open window. Jake tried to reason with his friend again, ‘Matt, come on you need to sleep.’

‘No.’

‘Please buddy,’ he caught a desperate sigh before it could escape, ‘it’s been 3 days, you’re gonna start to get sick.’

One of frantic leaves had settled on Matt’s leg. He picked it up, turning it over and over between his fingers, ‘Just go away.’

‘I get it, you’re scared that if you sleep you’ll dream about her,’ Jake tilted his head softly, trying to catch sight of their friendship, ‘and then you have to wake up and lose her all over again.’

‘Not even close.’

‘Well then tell me, Matt. Because we’re both gonna go crazy otherwise.’

‘I saw her, when she left to…’ he spoke so softly that it seemed like some of the words were lost even before they were spoken, ‘…when she got into the car.’

‘I know.’

The dark shadows of loss had torn far deeper into the young man’s face than a lack of sleep ever could, ‘I saw her today.’

‘We need to sleep to function, if we don’t get enough it messes with our minds, makes us see things that aren’t there.

He carried on like Jake hadn’t spoken, ‘I saw her before she drove away, I saw her before my phone rang.’

‘Matt, don’t go there.’

‘I saw her before they told me that she was dead.’

‘You can’t keep on torturing yourself like this, Sylvie would hate it.’

‘I saw her today.’

‘Matt…’

‘And it’s still today, Jake. As long as I stay awake, it’s still today.’ A tear had gathered at the corner of his eye, but it didn’t fall. It felt like his grief was lost too, ‘But if I go to sleep, when I wake up it will be tomorrow. And that means I will have said goodbye to her yesterday.’

‘You can’t keep hold of her,’ Jake searched for something to say that would fix the unfixable, ‘not even by staying awake for the rest of your life.’

Matt sat up suddenly, ‘I’m not having a day between us,’ he said, ‘and if that means staying awake forever, then that’s what I’ll do.’

‘So you want to die too, is that what this is about?’

‘You can’t die from lack of sleep.’

Jake took hold of his friend, ‘Fine, but you want to know what will happen if you keep on with this? Your brain will begin to compensate, your thoughts will become jumbled and you will lose the ability to control your life, Matt. You’ll live in a world where you no longer know what’s real and what’s imagined. And in that world every single day of your life will be lost. You won’t be dead, but you won’t be living either.  You’ll be sleepwalking your way through waking nightmares.  You can feel this starting already, I know you can.’

The tear fell then, slipping silently and deprived of context onto the leaf he still held in his hand, ‘How do I do this, Jake? How do I live a lifetime of tomorrows?’

Jake pulled his friend close, ‘Tomorrow is just yesterday with a hopeful grin and a fresh set of clothes on buddy. Both of them are about fear. This here, this,’ he patted his arms around Matt’s back, ‘this one moment is ours. And I know it feels raw and brutally painful right now, but it’s also real.’

‘You been reading The power of Now again?’ Matt said, leaning into his shoulder.

The wind that had driven that first shower of leaves into a fury, sighed and fluttered around the half open window, drawing the leaf from his soft fingers and dropping it gently to the floor.

‘Now is all we have,’ Jake whispered as his friend closed his eyes for the first time in three days, ‘and there’s not a damn thing on this earth that can take it away from us.’

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17 thoughts on “Sleepwalking

  1. Reblogged this on Inner Ramblings Boulevard: and commented:
    In my heyday (teens and twenties) I vehemently believed ‘sleep was for whimps’!
    I’d stay up for hours watching TV, then proceed to function like a champ on only one or two hours of sleep. I secretly wished I had a rechargeable battery to stay energized that way in lieu of sleep — so much to see, so much to do! FOMO? Maybe!

    In my 30s and 40s, sleep now has new meaning. I nap like it’s an Olympic Sport for which I think I deserve a few medals! Thank you. Thank you very much! ☺

    Say hello to Jac, one of our new followers. She’s an amazing sketch artist and writes intriguing short stories too. Thank you Jac for participating in my recent quiz, you now have the spotlight and my appreciation!

    Folks, have you ever wondered what will happen if you never slept? Well Jac has an interesting take on that in her following post. Have a read and show your love. Enjoy! 🌷

    October 23 3016 (Showcase Reblog)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve been blogging for around 3 months and in that time I’ve been fortunate to be followed by or stumble across a number of blogs who benchmark how this should be done. I’m really grateful for that, thanks guys.

    Liked by 1 person

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