Gail Earl’s stream of consciousness one sleepless night takes her from a bedside candle, to apple orchards, to her daughter’s peach allergy, and Sister Cornelius. Many of us can relate to this problem. Shared Stories is a weekly column featuring articles by participants in a writing class at the Norwalk Senior Center. Bonnie Mansell is the instructor for this free class offered through the Cerritos College Adult Education Program. Curated by Carol Kearns.
By Gail Earl
I haven’t had these many thoughts all week. Why now, at 2:30 a.m., is my brain filled with useless information?
I am not sure why I felt the need to look out my upstairs window now. All I see are several other houses (all lights off), the occasional car zipping down the street, and one lone opossum exploring my driveway.
I’m watching him intently, like it matters where he’s going. And that car that just drove away, where is he going at this hour?
This candle on my bookshelf looks like a tree in the moonlight. You know the best trees, ever, were the trees in the orchard when I was a kid. We’d have crab apple wars and peach pitching contests. I wonder why my granddaughter is allergic to peaches.
My mind is racing about a book I’ve wanted to write for 4 years and wonder how will I ever get it finished if I can’t seem to get it started. Maybe I really will start tomorrow with a designated time every day to write. I’m sure that will help.
Oh wait, I can’t start tomorrow. I don’t think I’ll be sleeping any tonight and my two granddaughters will be here at 6 a.m.
I wonder what we can do for fun tomorrow. We got free passes to a couple of zoos this week when we went to the Science Museum. Maybe we can – oh, never mind. It will be too hot for me to spend the day at the zoo.
Oh, let me check my email - nothing much going on there. Facebook – no. Guess everyone’s sleeping. Why do I have such trouble sleeping at night? I have for years.
I wonder how sweet Ms. Johnson is doing. She lives in that house right there. She’s blind and lives alone in that big house. I suppose there’s never any lights on there. I never noticed.
Wow, my plants in the front yard look really nice. The moon is so perfectly full tonight. Boy, my oldest grandchild Elizabeth loves stargazing with the big telescope on the driveway at the river. The sky is so clear there that there is more light from stars than dark with nothingness.
That reminds me of a passage I either heard or read once that was talking about the sky being so full of stars that it looked like “little holes in the floor of heaven.”
Speaking of holes, I wonder if the corner donut shop still sells donut holes. They were so yummy. When my son was in junior high, we’d stop on the way to school and grab a donut.
His was always blue. Who eats blue donuts? I’m just saying: chocolate – yes, maple – yes, vanilla - yes. What the heck is blue?
We’d always pass the same Mustang on our way out of the donut shop parking lot, and my son would wave to the pretty young girl inside who was also being driven to school. I can’t believe that they have been married for 19 years already.
Where did all that time go? Time - is it morning yet? I think I might be a little crabby tomorrow. Do you know that Sister Cornelius, 2nd grade, was the crabbiest person I ever knew? She had to be 100 years old back then. Her and that darned yardstick. I think she whacked me every day!
Now Mr. Chichecki was the coolest teacher I ever had. I had him for both 6th and 7th grade. He taught both. I loved him! Now who in the world fails kindergarten? Yes, I really did. Of course there was a really good explanation for it!
Why do I care about this now? Can’t I think about all these very important things in the daytime like most human beings? I wonder how many human beings there are in the world. I wonder how many of them are leading a happy life. And what the heck is the meaning of life anyway? Why are we here?
I should buy new bedding for this room. I wonder what color I like. Should I change the bedding in my room too or just leave it? Do I really care enough? I wonder if – I - O.K., this is just stupid. I need some sleep. I wonder if those Sleep Number Beds are any good?
Why won’t my brain shut off? It would be different if I was solving some world problems.
Nope, no world problem solutions. Just donut holes - story of my life.