I can’t sleep. I can’t sleep because if I go to sleep then I’m going to wake up tomorrow morning and for the first few sleepy moments I won’t remember and then it’ll hit me like a sledgehammer that she’s gone. I know because the same thing happened after our dog got killed last year. He was run over and the driver didn’t even stop. And I fell asleep thinking about it and crying but then when I woke up, I’d forgotten that it had happened and then, wham, I remembered everything and it was horrible, having the shock sink in twice.
But I need to sleep because I need to go into school tomorrow and if I don’t get enough sleep I’ll be tired and cranky and nothing will sink in and I’ll start screaming at Beth and Christy and then they’ll think I’m horrible and they’ll never want to speak to me ever again and then no one will ever be friends with me and I’ll be miserable and alone, and the teachers will feel sorry for me because I’m so pathetic and when I go to college I’ll never be able to make new friends because I won’t be used to interacting with people and for the rest of my life I’ll be all alone. I’ll be a crazy cat lady, maybe, and small children will whisper about me and play practical jokes on me and laugh at me. So I’d really be better off getting some sleep, only once you start telling yourself that you have to sleep, it’s nearly impossible. Because sleep is weird. You’re not in control of your body, you’re somewhere else. It’s sort of like being dead. You don’t know anything. You just disappear. I mean, I know you have dreams and all that, but I don’t remember my dreams most of the time, and when you factor dreams into the equation sleep starts to seem even more bizarre. Beth half-believes in astral projection, which is where you leave your body while you’re sleeping and go somewhere else. That’s how out-of-body experiences happen, apparently. But I’ve never had one of those and I don’t think Beth has either. I think she just likes being different sometimes. It’s her way of being special.
I wonder if Mum’s sound asleep in bed or what. I wonder if she’s wondering about us and whether we’re asleep or not. You’d think she’d have called or something. You’d think she’d do more than just leave a note, a note that wasn’t even addressed to anyone in particular. Three kids and she couldn’t even be bothered to write three separate personalised notes. I suppose that’s what happens when you suddenly decide one day that you’re not Mum anymore, you’re Catherine, and those three kids aren’t really that important to you now.
© Claire Hennessy 2005