Sleep | fleeting thought

hello, world.

Sleep is a strange thing.

Sleep is not really talked about in many places. I think this is because sleep is very hard to catch. Sleep is not a butterfly, and you cannot net it and put it in a little wooden cabinet or a glass locket and keep it close to you. I like how we think we choose to sleep. As if we control it, with a whip and shiny black boots. We like to think that we can make it perform tricks for us. Heal us.

Truth is, I think it comes and goes whenever it pleases. Sleep usually brings another thing with it. Little images that are almost always something you can see, but never something that you can touch or smell or taste or even feel. Is that not strange? We don’t think too much about it. We call it a dream.

Funny. Dream is a noun, dreaming is a verb, dreamy is an adjective and dreamily is an adverb. All of those are created by us to describe someone seeing little sleep-images. As if a dream is something that can be put in a neat little word-box, laid out onto the shelves among with other word-boxes that contain little bits of meaning. These boxes live in rows, and they are separated by little dots and lines.

We try to use words to write about it: about sleep and dreams. Someone can have a happy dream: we call that a fantasy. Someone can have a sad and scary dream: we call that a ‘nightmare’. There are also dreams that happen when they should not happen, or they show things that are not meant to be shown: we call those ‘hallucinations’. And somehow there are dreams that are not as important: we call them ‘daydreams’. And then there are all those left in between: we don’t have many words for those.

But once there lived many people, who made a very big city, and worshipped many gods. These people respected their gods very, very much. The gods looked after things that the people cared about. Of course, sleep needs a god to look after it too. So they called him Hypnos, and gave him a mother who was the very embodiment of the night. He also had a brother, who looked after death.

And so Hypnos lived and slept, but he tried to take care of sleep as much as he can. In fact, he was so keen on caring for sleep, that he fell into an eternal slumber himself.

I think sleep is closest to death. Sleep can stop us from feeling anything at all. Sleep is the one who places a stopper in time. Sleep makes empires fall. Sleep kills the poet and the madman in the same silent caress. Sleep is the one that stops us from making very big cities and worshipping gods and arranging little word-boxes in rows.

Sometimes I see it, leaning over my bed.

I think sleep is the one with the whip and the shiny boots. It makes us perform tricks for it. Feed it.

I am scared of sleep.

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Vincent Chang

Melburnian high school student | owner of The Afterglow Publication | lover of all things literary |