Owen was still as a book on a dusty shelf.
The room around him was dark, the only illumination coming in from a distant streetlight, filtered through dense leaves of trees and high shrubs next to the house, and slipping through the tight lace pattern of the curtains hanging over the eighteen panes of glass separating the fresh outside from the stuffy inside. The dark ornate furniture absorbed what was left of the light, and Owen was grateful for it.
He only turned off the lights moments before and his eyes were not yet used to the obscurity surrounding him. The bed he was on had a delicate floral print fabric bedspread, unwrinkled as he carefully stretched prone on it. The pillowcase barely had a dent on it from his head, and he didn’t dare turn his head right or left. The scratchy fabric felt stiff under his hands which were palm down. He rubbed his hands over it, feeling the weave, the starchiness of the fabric sizing, searching for softness that he couldn’t find.
His shirt was too tight, and the belt of his pants dug into his waist, but he wasn’t going to take them off. Of course he took off his shoes which were sharply lined up next to the bed at a right angle to the length. It was too warm, the air too stale, and he wished he could open the window.
It was painted shut.
The nightstand had a doily on it, a small, white milk glass lamp with a faux hobnail pattern stamped into the base, and an electric alarm clock that buzzed loudly. The alarm no longer worked, and the light was burned out. It had an ozone smell, and the electric wires in back that lead to the outlet were wrapped in fraying cloth. He could make out the face of the clock which read 1:10, but he knew it was 3:10. He wondered how the clock could be so off. He reached for the lamp and turn it back on and sat up. The little metal knobs on the back were too hard to turn, and all he succeeded in doing was advancing the time a few minutes. It read 1:20 when he put it back on the stand, and it worried him. He turned the light back off and moved into the same position he had been in before.
His watch ticked loudly on his wrist. It annoyed him but he didn’t want to take it off. It was what he inherited from his grandfather when he passed, the only thing left to him. It was a cheap Elgin watch, one of the last watches made at the factory his great uncle worked at until it closed in 1968. His grandfather only wore it two years before he died, and now, seven years later Owen still wore it even though it irritated him.
The more he tried to empty his mind for sleep, the more it filled up. But it didn’t fill up with important things. He didn’t think about his job. He didn’t think about his relationship with his girlfriend. He only thought of little things, details really, unimportant things that raced through his mind. His eyes grew used to the darkness once again, and the “collector” dolls lined up on a shelf on the opposite wall came into focus. Their little glass eyes looked back at him, black, flat, dead. They made him nervous.
The room began lighting through the window. He hadn’t moved for a couple of hours, and he knew the sun was beginning to rise. Outside the closed door he heard some clinking coming from the kitchen. He sat up on the bed and stretched, then reached down and put on his shoes, He smoothed the wrinkles out of the bedspread and fluffed the dent out of the pillow. He opened the door and called down the hallway in front of him. “Grandma? Is that you? Are you up?”
“Who do you think it is? Come get some breakfast. I’ve got Pop Tarts and coffee. Did you sleep well? When are you coming back for another visit?”


2 thoughts on “Insomnia

  1. Pingback: Insomnia | The blog of COOPER APPAREL. Find us at

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s