Friday, June 20, 2008

it keeps me awake at night

The sound is subtle. It's just a tiny, plaintive cry that comes every 6-8 mintutes or so. This sound is extra mysterious: it happens ONLY at night.

I lay awake and listen to it. "Why", I wonder, "does it only come to life under cover of the night? Is there some sort evil at work here?" Just as I am about to fall back to sleep, it starts again. There is no rhyme or reason to it's rhythm, no cadence I can pinpoint and prepare for. I lay in the darkness, fantasizing about taking a baseball bat to it. And yet, it is so small, so innocuous that usually you don't even notice it is there.

But now it is hungry. It is hungry and it needs something that only I can give it. I do not want to feed it. I want to kill it.

I pull an extra pillow over my head, muttering under my breath. Finally, at last, sleep comes and I forget about it.

The alarm sounds too early for how little sleep I've gotten. I hit "snooze" once, twice, and then finally I haul myself out of bed. I go down the stairs having forgotten about IT, and I begin my morning routine. I turn on the espresso machine, I turn the kitchen radio to NPR, I feed the fish, the dog and the bunny. I head into the bathroom and startle myself in the mirror. I start the task of undoing the damage of too little sleep. As I am washing my face, I hear IT and am reminded.

It is still hungry. I believe I know where the sound is coming from. I sneak toward it, hoping that if only I can keep my presence a secret it will make it's mournful sound.

It does not.

I go back into the bathroom. "EEEP!!" There it is again. Now I think it's coming from the TV room. Again I stealthily tip-toe in the direction of the sound, thinking "If only you'd cry while I am in the same room, I could help you. I could give you what you need. I will."

Again, it evades me, as if it knows I have come too close.

David gets up and I involve him in my mission. He, too, stands silently, listening, trying to pinpoint the sound. The sound that has kept me awake for the better part of two nights now. If only we could find it.


"I've got it!" David yells, triumphantly. "It's in the laundry room!" Aaaaah. I can already feel my body relaxing, knowing that IT has been revealed. That we can feed it and I can, at last, get a good night's sleep.

Luckily, we just bought a new pack of batteries.



jpogue said...

Good heavens they're usually so freakin' LOUD when the batteries are low that you can't mistake it for anything but the lousy smoke detector! I'm glad you took care of it without the use of the baseball bat...

Anonymous said...


I was thinking cricket :-)

kate said...

No, we knew it was the smoke detector, but we have approximately 46 of them in our house so it was impossible to tell which of them it was.

Dee said...

I KNOW there is a conspiracy built into smoke alarms as they only run low on batteries at night, and are not willing to "eeep" when you are near. It takes awhile to find the beast. I have gotten up in the middle of the night, drug a ladder to the perpetrator, changed the battery, flinging the dead one as far as I can without breaking a window. Then back to bed after using every swear word I know and some I made up.

Linda, aka "Lala" said...

I just love the way you look at things. Or more appropriately, the way you write about things. It's gotta be kinda scary in there, huh sis?

Jenny said...

I love it! I've had this experience, but have been nowhere near as funny about it! Mostly, waking up because of a noise of unknown origin has left me cranky and completely inarticulate...