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I Once Watched the moon make its way across the nighttime sky.

moon watch

 

I was a childhood insomniac. Especially on Sundays, for some reason. I don’t know why. Mondays were never any more demanding than any other day. There was no morning rush for me to dread. I was homeschooled, you see.

As prime-time TV wound down and the cheery local news anchors chattered in the background, I would get restless. My neck stiffened. My stomach tightened. I’d know it was going to be one of those nights. Again.

My parents and sister never had a problem fading off. They would snore while I was wide awake, listening to someone on Larry King’s radio show talking about nuclear winter. I always found something new to worry about while listening to Larry King. Music made it even worse. Music sent me into a panic. Silence was worst of all.

My clock radio would say it was three AM, but I felt fresh. Actually, I felt horrible. I’d burst into my parents’ bedroom and scream “I CAN’T SLEEP!” They’d arise groggy-eyed, yelling and swearing at me. Nothing helped much.

I got the idea to record our family dinners on an 8-track cartridge–one that repeated indefinitely. I thought the sound of the payback would provide solace. It didn’t.

I wouldn’t realize until much later in life why that was. Those people on the tape were the ones making me anxious. That was why.

Eventually, I got a ten-speed bike and started riding in the middle of the night. I’d sneak out and ride through the dark and vacant streets of Phoenix. It would be a bad cliche to say those streets became my companion in suffering, but they did. So did the moon, that one time.

When I was about 18 I suddenly found I could fall asleep at a normal hour. The anxiety was less.

I knew I’d be getting out soon.