While You Were Sleeping

At four in the morning, there is not much to do around my place. Especially when the house is full of people, including a toddler who wakes at the slightest sound. Exhausted, bored, and fearing the appearance of a rambunctious one year old, I hid out in the bathroom.

After styling my hair in a variety of fashions I would never wear publicly, I decided to try on my youngest daughter’s discarded make-up.  Sleepless night lesson number one:

 I can never use a black eyebrow pencil.

My eyebrows bec0me exaggerated question marks, as if pondering the fate of the world during a zombie apocalypse. I look like Joan Crawford, the later years. Much, much later.  Or someone creeping through a darkened hallway in a horror movie. Possibly a zombie movie.

Red lipstick is also a mistake. The bold color on pale, tired skin says crazed prostitute with a chainsaw behind her back.

There should be a hotline installed in bathrooms for people who can’t sleep. It would connect us to others suffering the same problem. A therapist could be on hand to answer the questions one ponders in the darkness of the night. Overblown, fueled by sleeplessness, they weigh on you like an anchor from the Titanic.

It’s not even the serious things that occupy my mind at three am. It’s my deceased in-law’s slide collection, at least thirty carousels worth, that sits in our back garage. Or the fact that I live in Manitoba and winter is coming.   And I don’t know how to use our snow blower, and my husband spends part of his time in Winnipeg. And won’t teach me because he thinks I’m going to cut off my foot. It’s all completely ridiculous. But that’s the working of an illogical, sleep deprived mind.   

Does a sense of aloneness creates a feeling of desperation? Or is it the fear of tiredness, that next-day-ache that settles into your bones? Whatever it is, while you were sleeping, I came to terms with a few things. Like, it is better to try on make-up in the middle of the night than lie there cursing the darkness. Or my messy garage. Or snow.

I hear the babbling of little voices. Time to creep back to bed.

Published by Judith Pettersen

Judith Pettersen is an author living in Canada. She blogs about her life in the north and the ups and downs of being a writer.

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