Failing To Sleep by Shona Moss

Failing To Sleep

She lay on her left-hand side for a few minutes but the pressure on her bladder was uncomfortable. A quick roll onto her stomach relieved the urge to urinate but made her unfathomably large breasts feel as though they might burst. She wriggled down the bed so that her feet fell off the end allowing a better angle for support. It wasn’t enough. A flip onto her right-hand side, always the most comfortable, the most natural sleeping position.

She stayed longer than she had in the previous positions. Soon though her neck began to ache and so she heaved herself onto her back. Every night. For as long as she could remember she had been through this cycle, or had it become a ritual? She would often wake up as she moved, repeating the whole process in her sleep.

Tonight was different to normal though, it was oppressively hot, she sweated in a different part of her body with every position. The windows were wide open allowing a flood of strange noises and smells. No breeze came with them. Sleep would be impossible.

She idled through her phone; social media, messages, photos, emails. Counting electronic sheep. She filed through memes, political opinions, birthdays, photos of faces she would never know, writing competitions, people thinking they’re witty, or pretty, yoga poses and the must have skin cream of the hour. She ignored the obvious but subtle pleas for help with mental health issues that should probably have been addressed differently.

Tired at last she put the phone down and tried once more to sleep. She couldn’t shake the idea of the writing competition. A short story forming itself in her head. After half an hour in the dark, failing to sleep, she sat up, rummaged for a pen and some paper in her bedside cabinet and began to write.

When she finished, more than an hour later, she looked at the clock, 2:08 am. A story had started, etched out of the silence and stillness and sweat. She carefully put the paper and pen away, applied a thin film of lip balm and turned the light off. She lay on her left-hand side for a few minutes but the pressure on her bladder was uncomfortable.


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