Deprivation

One day, one of my friends forgot how to sleep. She said, a few days later, that it was an odd sensation. She knew what sleep was about, and she remembered distinctly the way she felt when she slept, but she had never noted how exactly it happened, and then it disappeared.

The doctors told her what she already knew – that it was nothing physical, that it was all in her mind. She tried sleeping pills. But she would just lie in bed, listless and tired, unable to even get up, but wide awake.

So she began treating days as 20-hour ventures, with a four-hour relaxation period with as little physical or mental stimulation as possible. She had to reconfigure her body clock by setting alarms for the first few weeks.

Nights were designated research windows. Once in a while, I would get excited calls from her in the middle of the night. “Adi,” she once said, “I’ve finally calculated the average time the first bird starts tweeting in the morning.”

She was now slightly more manic, slightly more apathetic, but mostly herself. “I have been given the gift of time,” she would sometimes say in an odd tone of voice. We all had our opinions on what she implied when she said that. Me, I go with dry bitterness.