I’m in bed, but somewhere next to my pillow there is a woman ordering a Belvedere Cosmo, and when I stretch my right foot out towards my baseboard, a man asks for a steak knife and another Old Fashioned for his colleague who’s sitting next to him, right on top of my dresser. I open my eyes and all three of them vanish.
I roll over, blink a few more times to remind myself where I am, and drink from the glass of water on my bedside table. Sleep, love.
“Would you recommend a whiskey — something smooth, something I’ve never had before?” comes echoing across my bedroom ceiling.
“No, I don’t need a menu, but what sort of beers do you have? Oh, they’re on the menu? No, could you just recommend something?”
Open your eyes.
I am alone. My room is full of blue dawn light. The only noise is coming from the birds that are chirping themselves awake outside. I am alone, in bed, and I desperately need some rest.
This time, it starts to work; I can feel sleep holding my eyelids down, pressing against them, heavy. My limbs slowly dissociate, leaving just me and my brain and the feeling of a soft pillow beneath my head.
My eyes slip open for just a moment, one last waking glimpse, and I see my half-empty water glass on the bedside table and I know I have to refill it or the woman with the bouffant drinking the Belvedere Cosmo may think that I’m neglecting her.
My bedside table stretches all the way around me now, taller than my bed. All twelve seats at the bar are full and there’s a middle-aged couple near my desk asking me what my favorite drink is to make, and what I studied in school, and what I really want to do with my life.
I start to rattle off the same answers I always give: “Whatever drink you’ll enjoy the most… Creative writing… Yes, I graduated just recently… Oh, thank you… I want to go to sleep, really, more than anything else. No, no kids, no, just sleep. Just please, could you go home? It’s so far past last call and I have to wake up soon.”
The light on the other side of my eyelids is getting brighter, like raising the lights at 2:30am on a weekend. Surely it’s 7am, maybe even 8 at this point. If I sleep until the exact last moment before I have to leave for work, I’ll still get 5 hours before the cycle starts all over again. I just have to make one more Manhattan, and then…