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Sleepless in Senoia

Rick Ryckeley's picture

The sheets slowly rise and fall next to me. The Wife is peacefully asleep. Our two cats are down for the night. They say if you can’t rest, you have something on your mind. I must, because I can’t.

Usually it’s worrying about money (or the lack thereof) that is the thief of my slumber, but not this time. It’s something much more important.

I tried the normal exercises to trick my mind into turning off the many voices and thoughts of the day. Calculating math problems, thinking of topics to write about, and even making a list of things to do for the next day didn’t work. I got all the answers wrong, I got frustrated ‘cause I couldn’t think of anything to write and making the list just made me worry about all the stuff I had to do in the morning.

So I slid out of bed, slipped on a pair of fuzzy slippers, and went upstairs and wandered around the office and tried to think of something to write about.

Not that my writing puts me to sleep, mind you; it just gets my mind off of what worries me at the moment.

Right now, at almost midnight, that would be the inability to sleep. Lately though, it seems I do that a lot. Perhaps I should talk to a doctor about why I worry so much?

Great, now I have something else to worry about and lose sleep over. But for tonight it’s different. There’s an important decision that had to be made and I couldn’t ask The Wife for help.

This one I had to make on my own.

A light rain tapped at the office window as I waited for the computer to wake up. Unlike me, it had been in sleep mode for hours. As it grinds slowly awake, I noticed the yellow glow of a bonus room light spilling across the road, stopping just short of our yard. It looked like the neighbor, a new mom of twin girls, couldn’t sleep either. She’d talked just last week how she’s up most every night with the girls who have just turned a year old and sees our light on often too.

She said the middle of the night was the only time she had to just be her. During the day, her two girls take most of her free time, her husband the rest.

Our girls were asleep in the recliner and wouldn’t wake up until morning. Sleeping 20 out of 24 hours, life as a cat looks really good right now.

I gave a neighborly wave to the sleepless mom as the computer finally finished the start-up. I really should get a new one, computer – not neighbor, but I know me. I’ll worry about how to pay for it. Then I really wouldn’t get any sleep.

Funny thing about being up at one in the morning – you can find just about anything as you surf the Internet, and it can be done uninterrupted.

It took a little more than an hour, but I finally found what I was looking for. With a credit card number and a few clicks of the mouse, my problem had been solved. In about three weeks, it would arrive at my front door.

The slow rain from two hours before had now turned into a steady downpour that pounded the roof. The light across the road was still on as I cut mine off and started downstairs, leaving the computer to fall back into sleep mode once again until morning.

That’s when I’d check to see if this story is actually coherent or just the rambling of the sleep deprived.

I quietly slipped back into bed; my mind was once again at ease. What was worrying me had been taken care of. All the voices had been silenced for the rest of the night. Listening to the drumming of the rain, sleep finally wrapped itself warmly around me.

The Wife’s birthday gift is on the way.

[Rick Ryckeley, who lives in Senoia, has been a firefighter for more than two decades and a columnist for The Citizen since 2001. His email is]

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