He had always thought that going to bed was the loneliest part of a person’s life. When you lie there, tired, but unable to fall asleep, staring at the dark, your thoughts more alive than they’ve been all day. You are racing. You are racing.
It was 10:36 p.m. He was in bed. Trying to sleep. He never went to bed before twelve. He had wanted to go to bed early. Get a good night’s sleep before an early morning meeting. So he tried. He tried to go to bed early, figured some whiskey and a beer or two would do the trick. But all he could do was lie there, thinking about another drink, listening to Elliot Smith, another drink would make me fall asleep he thought.
But no, I must stay put. What time does the liquor store open? He thought, All he could think about was when he could go to the liquor store tomorrow, pour himself a couple strong ones in the evening tomorrow, get a little fucked up, and go to bed in peace.
He thought about getting up. But no, his meeting. He wavered between the two. Falling asleep and getting up. He could throw on some pants, pour another, step outside for a smoke, get a little fucked up, wake up exhausted, but somehow, content.
He wondered if these thoughts made him an alcoholic. He had never wanted to be an alcoholic. It was a sad thing. But he didn’t drink last night. That’s what he told himself, and it was true. He hadn’t drank last night. So he couldn’t be an alcoholic.
It was about more than that somehow. It was about going to bed alone. It was about going to bed lonely. It was about not worrying about the consequences of tomorrow. The headache. The churning stomach, like a ship. It was about not caring.
There is a transition, between tiredness and when you fall asleep. It is a transition that can last all too long.
He never liked the transition. He wanted to be awake. Then he wanted to be asleep. He didn’t want the in-between-time. When you lied there, all introspective, wondering if you’d survive tomorrow. When you thought about yourself, how damned destructive you were, how sad.