This is Not a Metaphor

It’s been happening a lot lately: the glitching reality of over-tiredness.

I don’t get enough sleep. I know when I should, but so often I’m halfway through something: a bottle of beer, or a favourite TV show. I force myself to stay awake, use my might to keep my eyelids from closing. It’s impossible, of course: like holding a bag of sugar at arm’s length, indefinitely.

My eyes shut momentarily. I’ll see something that isn’t there; construct a glistening narrative to explain it perfectly. Or sometimes it’s a pristine thought, small and round, like a pebble. It’s like a mini revelation, an unlocked mystery; a little bit of my world falling precisely into place. I accept the thought, the vision, or the narrative without question.

But then it vanishes to nothing, as though it was never there. All I have left is a strange sensation, of wonder, bemusement, and of spiralling darkness.

It’s all these things, but mostly it’s the darkness. A black cloth gently lowered over me.

This is not a metaphor.