You know the Thought Experiments. This is the back of the envelope.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Answer

She couldn't sleep.

It was a relatively new occurrence, she noticed. And it wasn't like she was not tired enough, or that she was depressed, or worried. She just couldn't sleep. She would stumble back home after twelve-hour workdays, scrape a meal out of whatever she could find in a refrigerator she was always too exhausted to stock, and collapse in front of the TV, bowl of cereal in one hand and the day's newspaper in the other. If she could muster the willpower and sheer physical energy, she would empty half her laundry hamper into a bucket of soapy water while she ate her dinner. By the time she was ready for bed, therefore, she was always bone-tired and more than ready to tune the world out.

Yet, she couldn't sleep.

She'd toss and turn, thinking thoughts she never allowed near herself all day, mapping the layout of her apartment, the city and the world, and locating herself on it. Sometimes, her thoughts turned to unfinished presentations and unanswered emails...but these worries usually faded out as seamlessly as they blended in. Mostly, her thoughts would take on an existential hue - just serious enough to escape being tagged ridiculous, never substantial enough to be labelled sublime. She'd remind herself that she had another long day coming up, that her body needed the rest. All she'd succeed in doing was forcing sleep farther away.

Somewhere between that point and the insistent, unnecessarily musical tone of her alarm, she would fall into deep, restful sleep. That was the only saving grace - sleep was hard to come by, but it was restful when it came.

She wondered when this had happened. When, exactly, had she gone from being the sort who slept soundly through rock concerts in the vicinity, to a near-insomniac?

She suspected she knew why. She just didn't want to think about it, that was all.

And that was why she couldn't sleep.

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