Clinophobia: Fear of Sleep

It has been six days now.

6 days.

144 hours.

8640 minutes.

518,400 seconds.


The days are getting longer. The nights, an eternity. Have you ever noticed how slowly the sun moves? I have, I’ve watched it. For 12 hours. Sunset to sunrise.

It doesn’t just disappear below the horizon. It doesn’t just emerge in one fluid movement. Beautiful hues of cotton candy pink and baby blue don’t just place themselves in the sky. The sun takes its sweet, precious time, like it has no care in the world. It will never have to leave its family. It will never die of old age.

Time, to it, is meaningless.

I’ve been counting the days, counting the hours, calculating the minutes and seconds. I write in my pink, leather notebook I got from Christmas. The tally marks, scribbled onto the page. The numbers and equations etched in the thick, off-white canvas. They are the only convenient ways to fill the empty space.

One hundred forty-four tally marks later, I remain seated on my quilted comforter, staring aimlessly out the fogged window.

I think I have a problem.

My eye bags are darker today. The thin, muted gray shadows under my eyes have become a concentrated purple, like a bruise left after a punch in the face. It aches and stings. It begs for sleep — sleep to heal the wounds. But I cannot. I will not. My complexion, once fair and peachy, is now pale, yellow, and sickly. My pink lips are chapped and peeling. The exposed skin stings every time I touch it.

I have done the impossible. I have aged 20 years in six days.

Maybe it’s the coffee. The dark, strong caffeine rushing through my body. The sight of it makes me shake. Maybe it’s the yelling. It rattles my bedroom door, twists the wooden knob and smashes itself into my room. Or maybe it’s just me. Me and my restless mind. Always racing, like a never ending sprint to the finish line.

My heavy eyelids droop, lower and lower, but I refuse to close my eyes. I cannot. The conformation, the acceptance. I will not. If I close my eyes, I will conform to the rules of time. The rules we all follow blindly, unwillingly, unquestionably. If I let my heavy eyelids cover my eyes, if I lie my head on the pillow and pull my sheets over my cold, nimble legs, I will accept the average patterns of time.

I am not average. I cannot, I will not.

I am not afraid of the darkness. In fact, I think it’s quite nice. I enjoy not being able to see anyone or anything around me. The shadows and the blackness reminds me that I am different. I refuse to be average.

The blinding red beams of light illuminate from my digital clock. 7:00. I reach over to grab my pink, leather notebook and my dull #2 pencil. The book opens to a page full of meaningless dark dashes.

My brittle pencil makes a heavy black line, snags on the rough paper, and snaps.


7 thoughts on “Clinophobia: Fear of Sleep”

  1. i am awed by this writing piece. Reads like a poerm. Each word well thought out. Congratulations to this budding artist!

  2. It’s hard to believe this was written by a 13 year old. So vivid! Wonderful style. A well deserved honor.

  3. What a intelligent mind Estee has and so deep.
    She really makes you stop and think about this piece

  4. A wonderfully creative and interesting piece, especially for a still discovering 13 year old. Even though her writing style is still taking shape it reveals a combination of poetic spirit, a James Joyce inclination and a romantic spirit. In onion-like fashion, as each layer is removed, another surfaces. Quite deep. Great job!! Loved it.

  5. I will be thinking of this piece every time my eyelids feel heavy. The author does a magnificent job at producing a feeling she aspires to convey.

  6. Haunting piece of literature. There is a wonderful rhythm to the sentence structure and a beautiful build-up to the conclusion. Great job!

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