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The Sleepless Beauty
In a way I envy Sleeping Beauty she gets it all, the prince, the kingdom and the fairy godmothers, but none of that means that much to me. What makes me wish I was the famous Briar Rose is the fact that she can sleep.
All of my life I have been an insomniac, unable to sleep unable to truly rest.
Sleeping is an escape from the real world. After 18 years you practically crave sleep like any other human being would. Growing up, both my parents never wanted much to do with me. They were too busy with their own needs to care about mine. As a small child I was raised by a series of nannies and daycares. Once I was old enough I was sent to live with my three aunts Lora, Laune and Mary in New York. This is where my story begins.
Our apartment was on the 5th story in a 20 story building. My favorite spot in the world, my escape, was on the roof. It was peaceful up there, no matter what was happening on the busy streets bellow I didn’t have to be scared, or worry and mostly I didn’t have to hurt. I was in my own bubble, a dream for the dreamless.
Walking home from school that day I was thinking of about a trillion things at once. Today was my 18th birthday and I was really hoping that my aunts had forgotten the whole ordeal. I don’t like being fussed over or being the center of attention. It was crazy to think that my aunts would ever forget my birthday, they practically had a countdown.
I left extra early this morning and got out of the house before my aunts had time to wake up and insist on beginning the birthday festivities. Luckily I managed to avoid hurting their feelings. When I finally reached my building instead of going straight home I ran up the stairs to the roof, lay down on the cement pulling my coat closer to my body, and slowly closed my eyes.
I jumped when my phone rang, it was Mary. Mary was the oldest out of three sisters and the most motherly, she was more like a mother to me then mine ever was. Mary’s voice rang out through the phone, “Adriana dear! Where on earth are you? School was over 2 hours ago and we have been waiting for you! We were so worried you could have been mugged, you could have been dead in some ally somewhere, for all we knew you could have…” I lifted the phone from my ear, these rants can go on for ever and a day “… hurry home now dear we have a surprise for you!” the line went dead and I started to make my way down to apartment E-3.
I couldn’t open the door to my home right a way. All I could do is stand there looking like a complete idiot with my hand on the door knob. I must have been out of it because I didn’t even notice that some one had walked up behind me “Do I know you?” a husky voice asked.
I whipped around; my blonde hair hitting my face, standing there was a boy I have never seen before in my life, but he still looked familiar, it felt like I knew him, maybe not in this life, but in another. He had light brown hair that was messy, but in a way that looked good on him, he was tall and muscular with green eyes. He was like a distant memory and my mind was welcoming him back warmly. I fought the smile I felt on my lips, “I don’t think so. Do you go to my high school? Live in my building?” I asked. All he did was stare at me with green eyes that looked so kind, “I just started college. I actually just moved in.” When he smiled a dimple on his left cheek appeared.
“College, eh? Well then I guess we don’t know each other.” I started to open the door, I didn’t want to go inside where my aunts were waiting with their “surprise” but I had to get away from him and what ever feelings I felt for him. “Wait!” he said, I turned my head my eyebrow arched expectantly, “My name’s Phil.” I quickly responded, “I’m Adriana.” Before he could say anymore I pulled the door open and ran inside slamming the door behind me.
I was greeted with the smell of burnt cake and vanilla which made my stomach flop over inside of me, remembering all my other birthdays. Lora must have baked the birthday cake this time. I walked into the kitchen were my aunts were arguing over who knows what. “It’s my turn! You got to do it last time.” Laune and Mary were both standing on stools by a mannequin with the most gorgeous dress I had ever before seen in my life. It sparkled in the light in an elegant way that was indescribable.
“ADRIANA! Get out, get out!” Lora rushed me out of the kitchen, my eyes on the dress the whole time.
After making me promise to sit in the living room until they brought my surprise out Lora ran back into the kitchen. I promised myself right then and there two things, one I would stop thinking about Phil and second I would eat my birthday cake with out throwing up to the best of my ability. Eventually the bickering quit and Lora, Laune and Mary started to sing happy birthday. Lora held the door with a cake that looked about as bad as it smelled while Laune and Mary wheeled the dress out where I could get a good view of its beauty.
“Happy 18th Birthday Adriana!” My aunts all shouted in unison. All I could do was smile back and stare at my present. The dress was shimmering silver with a few fabric butterflies made in a similar shade of grey; they looked so real I had to touch them just to be certain that they were just fabric. It had an empire waist and the dress flowed just bellow the knees on the mannequin. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen in my whole life. I bit back tears and gave each of my aunts a hug.
“It’s wonderful. Thank you!”
There was a knock at the door and Lora went to answer it. It was our next door neighbor Margret. She wasn’t the nicest neighbor a person could have; in fact she was probably the worst neighbor a person could have. She was a complete witch. She came over to yell at us no doubt.
“You people are just horrible. You know that? Horrible if I could, I would have you all evicted.” Margret yelled into Lora’s face. Mary stepped in between the two woman, “What seems to be the problem this time Margret?” Margret’s glare shifted between Lora and Mary finally spoke, “You are all too noisy, why cant you keep your voices down. Alfred and I were giving the cat a bath when you frightened poor Demon and he clawed me! See!” She lifted the sleeve on her arm up to expose 3 long scratches. “Oh dear we are very sorry for that. It’s our niece’s 18th birthday and we…” Margret interrupted Mary with a look that words couldn’t even begin to describe.
“I never liked any of you.” Margret pivoted on her heel and left with out saying another word.
“Oh that woman. She just makes me so mad!” Laune exclaimed. Margret has always been a rude neighbor and all around indecent person. She’s been bugging my aunts since she moved in a month ago. Lora ran over and hugged me, “Oh Adriana we’re so sorry she ruined your birthday!”
“Its okay guys I still love the dress thank you! It’s been a good birthday.” We all managed to choke down our slices of cake. It tasted like the eggs Lora used to bake the cake had been rotten.
Later that night after every one was asleep I grabbed my coat and went out to the roof. I laid down on the cement once again and stared at the sky. Sometimes it was hard never sleeping, it was weird knowing that half the world was asleep and that I never would join them. Closing my eyes was as close to sleep as I would ever get.
I was on the roof for at least two hours. Eventually I sat up from the cold concrete and walked back to my apartment. I went into the kitchen and started to make French toast for myself. I made extra for my aunts and put it in the microwave with a note. I ate my own in the living room while I watched television. Once I finished I got up to get ready for school. I put on what I normally wore, a t-shirt and a pair of jeans with flip flops, and headed to school.
After school I went straight to my room and plopped face down on my bed. High school was predictable and boring, and it doesn’t help that I happen to be the freak of the school. Apparently people think something’s wrong with you when you spend a majority of your time on a roof alone, none of them understood. A few moments later Aunt Mary came in and sat next to me.
“Long day huh?” she asked. I grumbled incoherently and threw my pillow. Mary patted my head then left my room with out saying another word.
By Three o’clock the next morning I was still awake as always, and still in my room. Would life be different if I wasn’t insomniac? The capability to sleep doesn’t make someone who they are, but doesn’t it help? Give them a break from reality or does reality follow you every where? These are things I can only hope to know.
By Four o’clock I decided to go onto the roof again. I know I was up there a lot isolating myself, but that’s the way I liked it. When you’re alone, just with yourself you don’t have to pretend. I was dreaming, my mind was blank except for what it chose to show me. Running across my brain like a film made just for my personal enjoyment were pictures of people I knew including Mary, Lora, Laune, Phil, my mom, and my dad. Lying there that night I thought of many things. I let my heart think while my brain showed me. Phil, taking me places and smiling at me the whole time. I wonder if I would ever see him again. My parents showing the love for me they never bothered to show. My aunts, loving, and a little bit crazy always the same. It was all so peaceful, and then it was time to go back to school again.
At school that day the principal announced over the intercom that there would be a charity ball at some local hotel to save the whales; all the profits from the ball would go to an organization dedicated to whales. Almost Every single girl in the school was swooning at the thought of dressing up in a beautiful gown, doing there hair in elaborate styles, and dancing with their Prince Charmings. I’ll admit even I was thinking of myself wearing the dress I got for my birthday dancing with my own personal Prince, Phil. I hadn’t seen him since we met in the hall on my birthday, but I secretly hoped I would see him again.
Walking home from school I made up my mind to sit in the hall and wait until Phil came by, if he came by. I didn’t know anything about him, not where he lived, not even his last name, but I was going to find out…today. After two hours of sitting in the elevator with a book I was about to give up when Phil came.
“Hey” Phil said with the smile that I knew all to well. “Hi, I was just sitting here. Waiting for you actually.” I looked at him hoping he wouldn’t think that I was just some freak stalking him. “Can’t get me off your mind? I have that effect on most women.” He winked at me and grinned. I had planned to wait for him, but that was as far as I had got with my plans. We both stood there looking at each other with nothing to say. You could hear a feather if it was dropped on the floor, finally he broke the silence.
“So have you heard about that charity ball that’s going on?”
“Yeah they announced it over the intercom at school today.” I said
“Do you think you will go?”
Was he about to ask me or was I delusional? When I didn’t answer him right away he said, “Because if you want to go, I was thinking we could go together, you know like a date.” All 18 years of my life I had never been asked out by a normal boy. Unable to speak clearly I said, “ I would love to!” or at least that’s what I tried to say, what came out was something a little more like, “ I… woo… lovvve… to.”
Phil just smiled at me with his sparkling sea green eyes, “Great I’ll see you on Friday then.” Without waiting for me to try and say something else that would just end up coming out screwed up he began to walk down the hall looking back at me once and grinning from ear to ear.
I felt like I was a freshman, giddy and exited for my first school dance with the high school cool guy, only I was a senior and this guy was the better then the high school cool guy. I was going to wear my dress I got for my birthday, and Laune, a hair magician, was going to do my hair. My aunts were almost more exited for me then I was for myself.
“Oh dear! What shall we do about her shoes? What about jewelry, would that be too much? You know take away from her dress? Oh I just had a fabulous idea! Why don’t we put crystals in her hair?” Mary said to my other aunts. Laune looked at her in disgust while Lora was oblivious as usual.
“We agreed that the hair is my area, did we not? I may or may not use your idea, but the decision is mine.” Laune crossed her arms and stood in a defiant stance.
“Oh you two are just so silly! I think that it should be Adriana’s choice how she wants things done.” Lora smiled sweetly at her sisters and me.
“Are you crazy? A young girl has no idea what she wants. Mary countered Lora’s sweet smile with a snaky glare, all the while I was sitting at the kitchen table knowing better then to say anything.
Finally it was the day of the ball, and after what felt like 8 hours, my aunts had finished getting me ready for the ball and my date, Phil. Laune had done my hair in curls that cascaded down my back pinned in it was a grey fabric flower it made me feel like a princess, my dress was as beautiful on me as it was on the manikin. All I needed was Phil and I was ready.
The doorbell rang and my heart rang with it. Phil was here and he was taking me to the ball. When Lora opened the door he smiled at every one, this felt to prom like for me, but I didn’t care. I was going to a ball with my possible prince. Phil and I stood while cameras shuttered and flashed. Laune fussed over my hair while Mary adjusted my dress, then we left.
Once we arrived at the ball “Wow” was the only thing I could think of to say.
“Wows right,” Phil agreed. The plain hotel room had been transformed; people were dancing in the center of the room. The windows were lined with thick maroon drapes, a shimmering chandelier hung in the center of the room, the refreshment table was covered in a golden table cloth with maroon fringe. Out side of a pair of French doors there was a garden with a pathway, all down the path there were twinkling lights strung around the gazebos and roses. Paper lanterns were hung all around the garden creating a atmosphere that was mysteries and mystical. We both stood in awe until Phil took my hand and led me to the refreshment table. “Want some punch?” he asked.
“No thanks I’m good.” I couldn’t drink anything when my stomach felt like I was going to throw up at any moment. Phil didn’t have any either, instead we both just stood there. From the corner of my eye I saw a familiar face. “Margret?” Our next door neighbor was there in a purple ankle length dress with padded shoulder pads dancing with a short man with a frizzy red beard I had never seen before. Was that her date? Margret looked over her shoulder at me and glared. “Phil, what are you doing with Adriana?” she looked at Phil confused. How did these two know each other we lived in the same building, but not on the same floor.
“Margret this is my date.” Phil said slowly. The situation had gone from completely delightful to completely awkward in only a few minuets. Margret stared unblinking at me in disapproval. Phil’s glance shifted from his Step Mother to me and said, “You two know each other, how?”
“Adriana is the niece of my horrible neighbors. You know the ones I told you about?”
I couldn’t believe that she would say that to my face out in the open.
“Margret! I can’t believe you just said that!” Phil looked at her in disbelief. I myself just stood there dumfounded.
“Phil, you know those people have problems”
“No Margret, you’re the one with the problem.” And with that my hand in his, Phil walked away pulling me with him from his Step Mother and his dad, Alfred, who seemed like he didn’t have a clue of what was going on.
Once again the only words I could manage was, “wow” Phil looked at me and smiled, his dimple showing.
“Sorry about that. Margret’s kind of, well you’ve met her.” I just smiled back in approval and led him to the dance floor.
We were both having a great time dancing and laughing, neither of us brought up Margret. I saw her still dancing with her husband. Phil leaned down and whispered into my ear, “You look great; I hope you’re having a good time.” Before I could respond I was tripped from behind, Margret. My head bounced off the tiled floor, my vision was spinning. The last thing I saw was Phil. He was kneeling next to me asking me a question I couldn’t hear or even begin to comprehend. I saw Margret behind Phil smiling, and then everything went black.
“I’m dead” was the first thing I thought, but I wasn’t dead, I just wasn’t all there. I was unconscious, but I was still semi aware. I knew that Margret had tripped me, a childish move you would have expected from a high schooler ,not a woman of nearly 50 years old. I knew that I had hit my head pretty hard on the floor; there was a commotion at the ball once people realized some girl was lying unconscious. I didn’t like the state I was in. It didn’t feel right, I wasn’t asleep ,but I wasn’t aware of what was happening. So maybe I was dead after all. I didn’t even really get to live and now I was going to be stuck in this eternal sleep, all these years of wanting sleep and I had finally gotten it and now I didn’t want it.
I woke up with a gasp. So I wasn’t dead after all, Phil was still standing there still looking worried. Some one had called an ambulance while it was on its way Phil had stayed by my side the whole time, even once the ambulance came he insisted on going with me. I only had a concussion. The doctors said I would have to be watch, they released me from the hospital and Phil took me home.
Sitting in his car Phil griped the steering wheel tightly making his knuckles go white. When we got to our building Phil helped me out of his car. “I’m so sorry,” he said “My step mom is a complete wacko and what she did tonight was mean and uncalled for. You haven’t done anything to her.”
“ It’s not your fault Phil you have nothing to be sorry for. I had a great time tonight, regardless of what happened with your Mom and the whole hospital thing.” By that time we had gotten to the elevator. Phil didn’t say anything else he just took me into his arms and kissed me, the elevator doors closed. The night ended Phil my prince and me the sleepless beauty.