I was dating a boy once who would always make fun of me for sleeping like a corpse. I’m unsure why, but I’ve always been most comfortable sleeping on my back. When I was little and I couldn’t sleep, I would stare at the ceiling and count the lines. Other times, I would pretend that behind my ceiling was a far away galaxy and not actually the apartment of a nice older Italian woman named Vera in my Brooklyn home.
When I moved to the attic room of my next home, I put stars all over my ceiling so I would go to sleep and wake up to stars. My room now has no lines to count and no stars, but I still like to think that behind my ceiling is an infinite world not yet discovered. I guess this is partially true because space is the most infinite thing of all.
I wake up staring at the ceiling and roll over to my dog. He’s normally snoring and breathing hot air into my face, I giggle and roll back over.
I close my eyes again and wait for my next alarm. The next alarm comes and I roll back over to my dog who is in the same position as he was before, innocent as ever without a care in the world. He’s harmless and adorable and relies on me for every aspect of his being.
I pet his head and sigh thinking about how I would trade anything to be him.
I go back to my back and stare at the ceiling.
Two alarms have passed and I am in the same position as I was twenty minutes ago. I look at my phone and have two sarcastic messages from my two best friends who I fell asleep on the night before. I say good morning and vanish on them again for another hour.
I look at social media and see tons of people I do not care about posting about things I do not regret bailing on the night before.
I close my phone and look back at the ceiling.
My third alarm goes off and I sit up realizing I wasted forty minutes of my day in this exact position.
My dog sits up and stares at me and tilts his head. He taps me with his paw, showing me he wants attention. I put him on my chest and lay back down.
Ten minutes pass and the two of us are back asleep, his head still on my chest and my head still facing the ceiling.
It’s 7:15 now and I finally get up. I brush my teeth and look at my hair in the mirror. I think how my head resembles a birds nest and three birds can fit in there without being visible.
I put on my face, say goodbye to my dog, and go out the door.
I stare at the people of the subway, wondering where they’re going and where they came from. Has the man over there showered in the past 12 months? Is that girl really as happy as she looks? It’s funny how these people are in our lives for the entirety of this ride, and then we will never see their faces again.
Twelve hours pass and I come home. My dog is sitting at the door waiting for me. I wonder if there will ever be someone as excited to watch me struggle to open the door as he is.
I go upstairs and change, wash my face, and out we go.
We go about our evening routine. I almost lose him twice on our walk to squirrels and a stray cat I secretly feed out of guilt. I hate cats, but I see this one wandering alone every day and I feel obligated to help.
I struggle to open the door again as he sits and stares, waiting for his treat.
We go upstairs and crawl back into my bed.
He curls in a ball and starts snoring immediately, as I go back to staring at the ceiling. I think about how I want the stars back. I think about the galaxy. I wonder if Vera is still living in that same apartment in Brooklyn, and I wonder if there’s another me doing the same exact thing anywhere but where I am. I sigh and drift away into the ceiling.