May 5, 2019

Free From the Scent of Wet Plaster


Insomnia and I became acquainted when I was five years old. It was in the time of monsters where pretend was sacrificed on the altar of real. Innocence didn’t know how it would die, because it didn’t know hell lived outside the castle of dolls in a green room of forced silence. It was impossible to curl into a lullaby when evil’s voice kept whispering, Don’t Tell, from every shadow dancing across walls.

There was no place to run when the house was sleeping; no place to hide when nightmares were tied to the sun in a knot so tight starlight couldn’t bring freedom. The ceiling was a mirror of the secrets on my tongue, and curtains mocked my eyes that never closed.

Years collected hours of wide awake until my body adjusted to running on little rest. I once asked my doctor if he was worried for my health.

Without a pause he answered, “No, that’s your normal. If it had just started, I would be concerned. “

Insomnia has become a companion. I’ve tried to smother her in a pillow, but she just laughs as we take another trip around the moon. We joke about the irony I write in a green room when my nightmares where born in walls covered in green paint. Oh, but we agree this room doesn’t bring fear because it is filled with light and doesn’t bear the overwhelming scent of decaying, wet plaster.


©Susie Clevenger 2019
 248 words

Telling Tales with Magaly Guerrero: a Pantry of Prose, #3 ~ Phobias and Fears

13 comments:

  1. Susie, your writing is brilliant........"when evil's voice kept whispering Don't tell from every shadow........" Wow. Such amazing lines, "nightmares were tied to the sun in a knot so tight starlight couldnt bring freedom." I would love to read your memoir, kiddo.

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  2. Ah yes, scents can be so evocative! There is much horror suggested in this tale; thankfully horror transcended if not forgotten.
    I too, for different reasons, have had 5 hours' sleep as my 'normal' for many, many years.

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  3. I like the way you describe your acquaintance with insomnia. I've had my share of it lately as well. Sigh. No nightmares, but just plain inability to sleep when I go to bed TIRED. I like the way you described it as a companion. An unwelcome companion, but nonetheless...... Thanks for writing, Susie!

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  4. Reading this, I feel if insomnia is right there... standing over your shoulder, saying things, like, "Yes, that's true." Or "Nah, it's not like that." You know, like those really closed friends who are always there? Or the not-so-very liked relatives we can never get rid of? The way you describe, sings of resignation. As if the ink has decided to what it must with what is giving.

    Sometimes, our normal sucks rotten toes.

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  5. My heart goes out to the five year old suppressed by a 'don't tell' monster. So sad. Insomnia results from such helplessness and fear. Scent definitely carries associations. Thank god the filthy smell is gone now. So well put.

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  6. My goodness this is evocative, I feel for the five year old .. to experience insomnia at such a young age and battle fear requires a lot of courage.

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  7. "Don't tell" tells me that there are real fear to be afraid... love how you have tied it to color and scents...

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  8. You have such an amazing way of describing life and your experiences Susie! I love so many lines, but one of my favorites is, "no place to hide when nightmares were tied to the sun in a knot so tight starlight couldn't bring freedom"...wow what a line!! Although it is hard to be awake like that, it probably has also been a blessing when it comes to your beautiful poetry.

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  9. I like how you write while making the reader live every line with you. Though I don't suffer from insomnia, who hasn't had a sleepless night, when everything seems bleak and frightful? Still, for this to begin in childhood, is so very sad. Love your writing style.

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  10. I love your descriptions! The way insomnia has become your friend is a reminder that it's visited me a few times in the past. An artistic write :)

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  11. what a compelling story. loved all the imagery in it.
    after reading this, i shall not be afraid of insomnia anymore. :)

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  12. Certain scents can evoke a sense of dread. You have depicted this so well in your story. And I can't help but want to run away with that little girl leaving insomnia to freely occupy that space.

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  13. You have done amazing things with the mood here, the way you built it up with the hints of horror. This is fantastic writing. I want to read more of it.

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