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Spadina Literary Review  —  edition 32 page 09


Monsters and sheep roam in the sleep

I Sleep Just Fine

by Ali Saeedi

Turning from one side to the other, counting down from ten, no, from a hundred, down to one or zero, thinking about something I have been trying to avoid thinking about, telling myself I’ll get out of bed if I don’t fall asleep in a few minutes, with the blanket, without the blanket, thinking of opening the window, thinking of checking my phone, thinking of watching TV, slowing down my breathing, breathing in for a few seconds, holding it in for a few more, breathing out, I eventually creep out of the bed.

“What’s your full name sir, I can’t just type in a bit of your name, that’s not a full name, I need to write it here or it will not go through, it says to fill this in, it is red, look, that’s not a real name sir, it’s not going to know that but I know that, I’m not a machine, you need to watch what you say sir, I’m going to have to ask you to leave if you keep talking like that, it’s fine, just know that you’re making this so much harder than it needs to be, now what’s your full name sir?”

Taking another sleeping pill, hoping that it will add to the one I took before going to bed and they will be released together and the effect will be twice as much, attempting to read the side effects, there might be something that would scare me and keep me awake, I take a fast look, seeing the bold ones, not much, putting it away, going back to the bed, sitting so that the water and the pill will go down, lying down, I get up and walk to the pill box and I read all of the side effects.

“What’s your address? You can’t not have an address, where do you sleep then? Where is that? Sir, I don’t care if you sleep or not, just give me your address, sir, I will follow you home and I will find out your address, I swear, sir, no, I’m sorry I said that, I shouldn’t have said that, I’m truly sorry, just give me your address, I need it, I do, don’t lie to me again, I told you not to do that, I know where that is, you don’t live there, I just do, stop playing games sir, I will kill you sir, I don’t care, I will put you to sleep for good, no, I’m so sorry sir, you’re messing with my head and I can’t take it anymore, now for the last time, sir, what’s your address?”

Sitting on the bed, looking into the dark, waiting for my eyes to get tired, looking at my phone, getting out of bed, turning the lights on, opening the window, getting back to bed, trying to sleep just for a few minutes, if it doesn’t work, I’ll get up right away, putting my head on the other side of the bed, taking the sheets off the bed, throwing my pillow off the bed, wishing that I hadn’t done that, trying to pick it up without opening my eyes but my hands don’t reach it, I look, it is too far away, it isn’t even where I thought it was, I crawl towards it and pick it up, I sit on my knees, I stand on the bed and then sit down, then I get out of the room.

“What’s your phone number? Just give me your phone number, no, you can be sure that I’m not going to call you, I don’t know if or when they are going to call you sir, I don’t care about that, turn it off then, you need a doctor sir, I can’t fix that, it has nothing to do with me, it’s all on you, you’re the problem, you can’t take these things out on me, I don’t have to hear about your problems sir, that does not concern me, I sleep just fine sir, yes I do, now what’s your phone number?”

Sitting on the sofa, I try to close my eyes for a little while, while the TV is on, endlessly changing the channels, I get up to take another pill, I fear taking one more but it might eventually work, I sit on the floor, it‘s too cold, I sit on the sofa, it hurts my back, I sit on the bed, I feel my eyelids getting heavier and heavier as the alarm starts to go off, I get up, wash my face, put on my clothes, with no breakfast, I go to the office, I sit behind my desk, number 1 comes up to me, What’s your full name? I ask.