Sunday, June 5, 2011

an exercise of the mind

I was having trouble falling asleep one night last semester, or maybe I was just procrastinating doing my work, but I ended up writing this short piece:


I wasn’t quite asleep, but I was riding the tide. Whenever a wave came I was pushed slightly more towards the light, before being dragged back, deeper into the current, into the depths of the ocean of sleep. Every time the current grabbed hold of me, however, something stopped me from going under. I knew that there would be warmer water under the surface, that the top had grown chilled, but I could not break the surface. I would not fall asleep. The logical explanation for this was that there was a dinosaur on my dresser. Every time I came close to embracing the warmth that was this unreachable sleep, I was startled awake, dazed. I think that this dinosaur, maybe it was a pterodactyl, was trying to be helpful but it was a bit confused. It did not seem to realize that I was trying to sleep, and that it was disturbing my sleep, and that I wanted it to stop. “Dinosaur,” I said, “won’t you stop?” But it did not heed my pleas. To be fair, this might have been because of a language barrier, I do not know how to speak pterodactyl, and though I am pretty good at roaring like a tyrannosaurus-rex, I only know a few words and I’m not sure the pterodactyl would’ve comprehended those anyway. It may also be because I was half asleep and talking into my pillow.

The dinosaur just sat there on my dresser. Perfectly perpendicular to it, but with his beak angled slightly upwards. He seemed almost pretentious, but I knew he was not. He was simply watching. First he would look to the left, towards my roommate’s closet. After he was assured that no monsters were lurking there, his glance slowly oscillated around the room. He looked always at the same height though, which seemed strange because how could he then check underneath our beds? I figured he most not realize that that is an excellent hiding spot for a monster seeking to eat me in my sleep. Still, his gaze seemed to be protective. He surveyed the room from left to the right, and right to left, repetitively, insuring that nothing was amiss.

When his glance reached me, after he had scrutinized the rest of the room, I could feel his breath. I wasn’t sure if he was actually blowing on me, trying to cool me down, or if he thought he was a dragon, and was simply failing to produce any pyrotechnical performance. Regardless, it was appreciated. My back, which I had been laying on, was getting hot on the sheet, and the breeze cooled it nicely as I turned on my side, facing away from the dinosaur on my dresser. “I’m not turning away from you Dinosaur,” I said, “it is just more comfortable this way.” He didn’t seem to mind.

As I closed my eyes, my imagination took hold of me once again. I was lying on the beach, with the tide slowly rising around me. As it receded I could feel myself drifting. I was going out to sea again. As the current pulled me down, I was flung upwards. There it was again, like the sharp screech of a bird being attacked. How could I fall asleep something making such a noise? But I knew it was not a bird; no, this noise was a pterodactyl. “Dinosaur,” I said, opening my eyes slightly, “could you please stop making those noises?” It sounded like a fan that at the end of each oscillation was grinding into the outlet on the wall behind it. I closed my eyes again, but each time the waves came, so did the noise, and the sound would overcome the mighty power of the ocean and I would wake from my half-sleep.
I got up and moved the fan two inches away from the wall.
“Thanks,” he said.


  1. Well written, loved it!

  2. I just wanted to let you know that I read all of those words, and I'll read all the words you write next time too

  3. A bit weird, but I like your style. Keep it up!

  4. I agree with Noctis; seems like a lot of this language is adult but at the same time bits and pieces of a very child-like voice comes out. Some of the syntax can be cleaned up as well. It's really charming though, I'll have to keep reading for more...

  5. Very creative... Great writing.. way better than mine!