‘If you sit on a voodoo doll of yourself, would you ever be able to stand up?‘ This was the fourth random thought I’d had in about as many minutes. I couldn’t stand it any longer. Grumbling under my breath, I tossed the covers aside and slid out of bed.
“Where you goin’?” my husband asked, half-asleep.
“Can’t sleep,” I whispered, “just going to read in the living room.”
“K,” he mumbled, rolling back over toward the wall.
I picked the afghan up from the back of my easy chair and headed into the other room. From the bookshelf next to the front door, I chose a biographical fiction novel, ‘Napoleon and Josephine’. I’d always loved learning about historical figures, and my imagination feasted on the fantastical retellings of various ancient peoples. Settling down onto the couch, I snuggled up under the thick blanket and opened to where I’d left off the previous night.
Instantly, I was lost in a military state, discussing strategies with the General, feeling my heart tug as I read the letters to and from his beloved Josephine. I read for nearly four hours before I realized the sun was beginning to peek over the horizon. With a sigh, I placed my bookmark between the pages and sat the tome back on the shelf. Still wide awake, the reading session had done little to vanquish my insomnia.
Brandishing myself for a rough day, I set the coffee to percolating and began getting things ready for the day. I tried to use the early morning hours wisely to ameliorate the negative effects from the lack of sleep. By noon, I was still going strong. I didn’t know where I found the energy, but I kept going all day long. After dinner, we watched a movie in bed, and I fell asleep during the opening scene. The dream that followed was unlike anything I’d ever experienced before.
I was in my kitchen, pouring a glass of lemonade. Reaching out, I handed it to a man I didn’t recognize. As I began sipping on my own soda, it suddenly hit me – the man was Napoleon! Dressed in period clothing, he nodded in thanks for the beverage and turned to speak to a woman at his side. Could that be? Was it… Josephine?! I wanted to run over and ask them both a million questions, but it seemed as though my feet were stuck to the ground like cement. Hard as I tried, I was unable to move an inch. I shouted. But, it was as if they were unable to hear me.
Eventually, the couple turned and gave a little wave in my direction, before walking off and vanishing from the hazy room. I suddenly detected a whiff of something in the air – like a stale vodka tonic with putrid, citrus undertones. I awoke at once, drenched in sweat. My late-night reading sessions don’t seem to be helping my insomnia, after all.