By Dana Gornall

What I mean when I say I’m tired—I mean I haven’t slept well in days, maybe weeks (maybe months).

The nights are broken and uneven, the dreams have pixelated into pieces and images that make little sense, yet leave me uneasy and unhinged. I wake at odd hours, I toss and I turn, I settle and unsettle, and nothing seems to bring back the soft backward drop into sleep.

When I say I’m tired I mean I don’t want to get up even though I know I need to or should. The dust on the table lays flat and neat as a painting. The bills are stacking, untidy and tiered and the full meaning of this glides over the surface like a smooth stone that skips and hits water.

When I say I’m tired, I mean my capacity to think straight has become skewed and I can’t find the right voice. I mean when I try to write, the words seem to dip and hide just out of grasp and when I try to reach them my fingers sink into nothing—empty and blank.

When I tell you I’m tired I mean I have so many questions yet none of the answers and I know you don’t either but I ask anyway. Because maybe a word—or a piece of a word, or even the beginning of a word—will bring back some clarity and order to the rummaged parts of my mind. It has been turned upside down so often, lately.

When I say I am tired, I mean my heart beats a bit slower and maybe a little heavier and the spaces between seem to sigh. My thoughts fall in slow motion, hitting a plateau, until all that is left is a fuzzy, foggy cloud that spreads to all of the corners, and all of the valleys. And it leaves no room for sense or rationale or right thought.

When I tell you I am tired, it means I have forgotten the path. I know I had walked it at one time, yet strayed for a moment—just to rest—and now I feel maybe I’m lost. I wish there were some direction, and maybe there is, but instead I would rather just sit here and wait. Wait for the time I’m not tired.

When I say I am tired, I don’t mean I no longer care so much as that caring feels way too distant and far and I don’t think I can reach it just right now. Whether it be across the world, across the street or even across the room, my need for this waiting, this pause, outweighs any drive to care and so I’d just rather not.

When I say I’m tired, I mean that I try to do the things I used to love to do, only I won’t or I can’t because all of the lightness and all of the joy has been shaded and dark. I reach out sometimes in hopes it comes back and at times it does, for just a short time. And I think that maybe the things that I loved will puncture the bubble that sits so content and unmoving, and drowns out the sounds of people and things.

When I say I’m tired, I mean I am hoping and praying that someone, somewhere will notice. That someone will point that way out of this ever sinking, ever deepening hole.

I wonder if I will wake up soon. Or sleep. One or the other, just not this in-between, hazy, undefined, indistinct place of the void.


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