Mid-morning strikes me as an unusual time to write about sleep. I eat a snack-sized Zone bar, only 80 calories, innoculation against the desire for sleep that seems to hit right about now, after my coffee wears off.
I was thinking about Aunt Helen yesterday and how she drank a pot of coffee a day. We lived in different states, our family in New Mexico, Aunt Helen and Uncle Nemey in California. Whenever Mom mentioned talking to Helen on the phone, I pictured her round fig-like body seated at her formica table, a small TV on top the washer, and Helen drinking cup after cup of coffee.
I’ve started to crave cup after cup of coffee with heated milk. I could drink three or four cups, in fact, each morning. Even some afternoons I crave the smell of coffee and the feel of the smooth ceramic cup warm in my hands.
I think of the question: If I were stuck on a deserted island and could have only one food, what would it be? Right now, this moment, it would be a cup of my heated milk and coffee, or maybe heated milk and black tea chai. But forever, or for as long as the mind can see, my one food would be coffee and not chai, the chai spices too intense and the chai flavor too sweet.
I know it’s all silly, this deserted-island talk, as if there were a Starbucks on the island, as if coffee or chai were foodstuff, as if my body could survive on coffee. I’d get jittery and skinny and I’d die of starvation, although in my mind I figure there might be coconuts or mango, fish to spear with sticks, but wouldn’t I want rice as my one food?
Why is it that in my head I think of foods that give me water instead of mass? Foods like bananas and watermelon, those I could live on into perpetuity. I’d ask, Wait, can’t I also have a salty food, like popcorn, to counter the sweet? It must be the coffee that makes me have these food cravings, or the lack of oxygen, as I just now realize I’m forgetting to breathe as I write.
My sleep has been deep. I almost remember dreams, one where I’m in a box, and maybe it’s a box train on its way somewhere in the dark. Then the box becomes a fourth-floor apartment where Jim and I live, and instead of moonlight shining in the window there is light from the bar at street level. I walk to the window and see people streaming in and out of the bar, and I tell Jim, Oh no, the store next door closes at 10 but the bar will stay open ’til 5. Jim is talking to our two roommates, and I think, What a disaster to live next door to a bar.
I wonder now, sitting here, much more awake than when I started, why is it I sleep so soundly and soundlessly yet dream so noisily? Is it, as they say, a time to work out all one’s worries, and if so, what kind of thing is it that leaves me craving water and salt, coffee at all hours, and a desire to be left all alone in the dark quiet night?
-From topic post, Writing Topic – Counting Sheep