The Child Who Died Without Time
When he was born he didn’t sleep. His mother went insane and slept under neighbors’ cars, in garbage cans, slept with the elderly, the dying and the children. After she died, he began to sleep. And he had wonderful dreams where he flew, swam, rode big wheels and found friends just like him.
When he woke up, all he wished was that he could go back to sleep. In bed, the clouds and bad dreams stayed away. But when awake, there was nothing but earthquakes and horror. There was nothing he could control.
Eventually after his father passed away watching television, he was free to sleep as long as he wanted. He could stay in bed when he was awake and then wait to fall asleep again.
He painted the house the colors he saw in his dreams. Bright blue, a shy white that removed all the leftover noise from the house. While asleep he ate hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza and milkshakes. Every channel on TV played his favorite show. There was nothing loud, rough or ugly. In fact when he slept, it was the only time he could feel the sheets and blankets that covered him from the days that were too strong and alive.
As he grew older, his body began to atrophy. His legs grew thin. His arms were now wrists and his face looked like it had been cut in half. But asleep, all he saw was a beautiful young man filled muscles, intelligence and friends.
When he began to read things began to change.
The first book he read was Charlotte’s Web. The second book he read was The Lemming Condition. When he slept the streets were empty, there were no cars, only candy corn and chewing gum. He could never remember the title of the third book he read. But he remembered everything else. This was the book that he felt “made him like everyone else.”
After he read this book, he was no longer able to sleep. And now that he was always awake, he understood what nightmares were. Late at night he would take walks back and forth along the dead end street he lived on. He would see bicycles without seats, cars without tires and dogs without tails. Then there was the noise. It came from everywhere. Even at the quietest time in the morning when everyone was sleeping. The sky would turn into colors that hurt his eyes and the animals in the trees made noises that made his ears bleed.
He would run home and lie underneath his sheets and try to remember what it was like when he slept. Until eventually he could no longer remember what it was like to sleep. Now he was left with nothing but shoes, socks, a shirt and a pair of jeans. More than he needed but not enough to let him go home.