It was another restless night for Jamie. The third one this week and it was only Wednesday. She had been incapable of reaching an unconscious state for the past two months. Every night around nine she would get in her bed, shut her eyes and will herself to sleep. But after 30 minutes she would throw the blankets off of her in frustration and climb out of bed, going over to her computer and playing solitaire until she felt her eyes burn with sleepiness. Then she’d walk back over and climb into her bed only to find her body and, most importantly, her mind unwilling to sleep. Frustration would mount and sometimes she’d have to suppress tears, she’d bury her face in her pillow and whimper loudly until her face hurt.
Turning over she looked up at her ceiling, the color of vanilla frosting. She specifically chose that color when she was thirteen; her mother had agreed to upgrade her room from the style of her once six-year old self. She traded in the bubble gum pink carpet for hardwood floor and a large sandy brown rug. Her collection of stuffed animals now rested in a long oak trunk she positioned below the sill of her window that overlooked the spacious backyard. She walked over toward the window and knelt onto the trunk. It was black outside, the tiny lights that surrounded the pond slightly illuminated the frost on the grass. The pool was covered as winter was in its beginning stages. She stared up at the sky, small slits known as stars were not as remarkable from this distance. The moon was hidden somewhere far away in the sky. She shut her eyes, contemplating a prayer. Sleep, Lord, I just want to sleep, she begged. She pressed her forehead against the cold window, her heart filled with desperation. Fifteen minutes and she could not push herself into unconsciousness. She walked into her bathroom, opened the cabinet above the sink and grabbed the one bottle that was almost empty, it wasn’t even like they worked but they were at least a comfort. She swallowed the two sleeping pills and shut the cabinet.
Her parents and younger brother were sound asleep. As she walked down the hall of the third floor past each one of their doors she envied them. Even their Golden Retriever lied comfortably in his doggy pallet in the corner of the living room. She walked softly down the winding stair case into the kitchen. She dug in the freezer for a carton of vanilla ice cream, grabbed a spoon and headed to the basement. The basement was her father’s pride and joy, he had spent years remodeling it into a theatre-slash-arcade. On the left side is where the retro arcade machines and modern consoles were. To the right was a door that led to a state of the art home theatre. A 60inch flat screen television was mounted onto the wall and ten brown plush leather recliner seats were perfectly lined up to mimic the rows of a theatre. Jamie grabbed the huge complex remote and flipped on the television. Flicking through a list of movie titles she settled on an old 1930s silent movie. She had no interest in the plot. As the film rolled she opened her carton of ice cream and began shoveling its contents into her mouth.
This was her routine, had been for the past two months that sleep had evaded her: she’d swallow two “organic” sleeping pills bought from Whole Foods, grab a carton of ice cream and lazily watch a movie until she felt so heavy with fatigue she had no choice but to succumb to it. The only problem was, it never worked. Every night she’d feel the weight of tiredness but it was never enough to push her to sleep. The film would end, she’d shut off the television, take the empty carton upstairs to throw away and look at the clock on the oven that blinked 1:00 am. She would go back to her room and either try to finish some homework for her online classes or read a book. But tonight those options were not ones that satisfied her. She needed to get out. As enormous as her house was, she felt suffocated.
Not bothering to change out of her silk pajamas she grabbed her father’s large winter coat, stuffed her feet in her black combat boots and grabbed her keys off the counter. Maybe if she drove around, got lost somewhere for a bit she could clear her mind, come back and be able to sleep for at least half an hour. She backed her car out of the garage, unsure as to where she was headed. It was now 1:20 a.m., her gated community was quiet and still. Tiny flakes of snow dropped on her windshield, she wiped them away and drove toward the exit of the gates where she punched in the code and drove off into the night.