When was the last time you closed your eyes? When was the last time you fell into a deep slumber the second your head hit the pillow? You wish that you could say last night. That all of your troubles melted away as you drifted off to a comfortable sleep. Where you dreamed of paradise. A place that you felt safe and content, where nothing would dare bother you, worry you, hurt you. To put it simply and in one broad word, you dreamed of heaven.
But I can not let that happen. You see, it is my job to force you to face your demons. To realize that you can not just escape your life and whatever it has in store. You must open your eyes and keep them open until the time when they may peacefully close. When everything is perfect. When every puzzle piece connects seamlessly to the next, when every brick is placed symmetrically to form a house, when every possible thing that has ever made you feel down, is mended. That is when you will truly discover serenity. And when that occurs, I will leave you. I promise. But I will not abandon you a minute before, not even a second, because that is all it takes to fall back into the darkness. To be swept up by your troubles all over again. I will coach you through this, even though all you want to do is close your eyes. Don’t.
Some may call me a menace, a con artist, or a thief. Those words are so negative and they flawlessly reflect back on the pessimistic views of current society. No wonder you are so depressed, how can you possibly see the light, when all the good in the world is shaded by the leaves of anguish? No, I do not see myself as something gloomy. I see myself as a beacon of hope, a guide towards achieving what you most desire. Sometimes humans can be so simple minded and only see what they want to. They want to be stuck and complain about how unfair everything is, instead of working to be free. I challenge you and I know that you despise me for it. Everyone does. I push you to strive for tranquility, isn't that what you want? You want to close your eyes and slip away. You want to let your mind run wild without having anything tying you to the ground. I can aid you. I can get you there. You have to trust me and stop fighting everything that I do. I’m not a menace. I am not a con artist. I am not a thief. I am Insomnia.
I know we have had our ups and downs, I mean who hasn’t? You curse me every evening as you settle down. I have heard my name used in vain numerous times, you would think that it doesn’t affect me anymore. I have found a few ways to cope with being universally despised; but, with you it is different. I want you to like me. I want us to be friends. It never bothered me when others cursed my name or wished me away with every ounce of their being. It’s a bummer because I am a nice guy and everyone takes me for granted, but I need you to understand that my presence is a gift. Maybe I care so deeply because you remind me of myself when I was young. When I was at my worst.
Believe it or not I was human once. Just like you. A child in need of guidance, in need of unconditional love. I had my fair share of issues to overcome and I wept over them just like I see you doing every day. It breaks my heart to see you feel what I have felt in the past. Do you know how I persevered and thrived? Well, I put myself to the test, by working all day and all night to conquer my adversities. I never rested, never blinked an eye, until I slayed all my demons. After many months of sleepless nights, all twenty-four hours of my day used to better myself, I finally succeeded. I still remember the night when I easily drifted off into the deepest slumber of my existence. It was pure bliss and I never would have experienced that if I had ignored everything that was happening around me. Don’t you understand? You can curse my name and hate me all you want, but I was you. I know better than anyone what you are going through and I can make it all go away. Don’t end up like those other kids, never finding any peace. I don’t think I could stand to let you down, not after everything we have been through. Help me help you. Please.
I know my past existence as a human might be surprising. You are probably wondering how I got to where I am today? An invisible entity that is despised by so many. Well, after my slew of sleepless nights and productive days, I fixed all my problems. I repaired my broken relationships, engaged with my passions I was too afraid to pursue, and let go of all the toxic topics that swarmed in my mind like hornets. I fixed myself. Once it was my time to leave the earth, leave the perfect life I fought incredibly hard to live, I was given a new purpose. Revived into this concealed body in the sky. Tasked with the duty to assist sad children like you to spend every second of everyday repairing what swarms your mind at night. To let go of what ties you down and find peace in your own being. I am tasked with helping others liberate themselves the way I did before. With you, I am liberating you from yourself. I am giving you the gift of more time in your life to achieve what others can not. The time that others waste sleeping, you utilize to improve yourself. I wish you could clearly understand that my intentions are not malicious. I do not keep you up at night as a punishment. As you curse my name, you neglect my gift. Do not neglect my gift.
Do you remember the day we first met? It was in January, after your grandfather passed away. You stayed up all night, praying for him to come back. You held that ratty old stuffed animal he gifted you for Christmas, and just cried. All night long. I remember looking down, thinking, that could have been her last full night of sleep. It might not have been enjoyable, but I know how much you beg for it now, so I don’t assume you would have been too picky. As you layed in bed that night, I felt that you were praying to me. You said you wanted an angel to bring him back to you, but I know that you desired so much more than a few extra seconds with him. You saw how much he suffered. You realized that in sixty years, you could possibly be in the same hospital bed, facing the same fate. You heard him say that he lived a good life and that he had no regrets, that he was free of all that tethered him here. That he had felt liberated for many years prior and that if now was his time, then so be it. I witnessed your thoughts, pouring out of you in the embodiment of tears. You were so helpless. How could I stand by and let you suffer for those next sixty years? I promise to support you, day and night. Never let you slip through my fingers. You say that you have nobody. No one to rely on. No one you trust to never leave you the way he did. Well, I am a constant in your life now. Give me a chance.
I am there every time you fake a smile. Every time you pretend to be ok. I catch the silent tears that slip so fast down your face, and wipe them away for they are barely recognizable to the naked eye. I watch you now as you run to your room and fall onto the bed. You avoid the fact that you are so lonely, you feel hollow. A shell of who you once were. Slowly you awake, yet again cursing my name. As you slam your fists into the heap of pillows that lay untouched at the headboard, I think back to the first time I ever witnessed you lash out at me. The perfect formation of pillows that had not been used in days, now lay scattered on the floor. You look into the mirror, disgusted by your reflection. Repulsed by the marks I leave. The dark bags that sit beneath your clear blue eyes. The disheveled hair that comes after all the tossing and turning you do each sleepless night. The pure and true emptiness in the unfamiliar being staring back haunts you. I can tell how hurtful this is, but like I always say, change does not occur when you are unconscious. I knew that if you would just take the time and look, you could solve your problems, find plenty of friends. You are kind and thoughtful, everything that a best friend should be. However, I highly doubt that you will meet someone real with your eyes closed. Open your eyes.
I know you feel alone. That loneliness is what engulfs you on days filled with sunshine. Days that are supposed to bring nothing but happiness. Days that you waste feeling the way you do. I can hear these calls, hear your cries. read your mind. I can sense every idea and memory that pulses through you. Trickles through your bloodstream, engulfing you in a world of hurt. The pain radiates from your body, the voices in your head ring in my ears and swiftly return back to you. I weep above you as the movies project behind my eyes, the sound filling my ears. I hate who you hate and love who you love. I even find myself despising me because I am who you hate most of all. I am the one preventing you from succumbing to the darkness that threatens to drown you. I am the one that you want to escape from the most. I can’t take away your pain, only you can. So I am not leaving you until you learn to fight for yourself.
I failed so many before you. One after the other, they never seemed to find what they had been searching for. For you, loneliness is what occupies your thoughts. What keeps you up at night. Well, what you think keeps you up at night. However, technically I keep you up at night. I attempted to help all the other children. I did my best, I always do. I always want success, but it takes more than just me to obtain it. Every time before, I was always ecstatic to move onto a new child because I knew that I had failed the last task. Why would I want to stay? When my child did not improve his grades or when his relationship with his father remained tattered, I knew that I had failed. When they truly and completely lost all signs of hope for a better future. When all the light that used to fill their wondrous gazes has diminished. That is when I am extracted from the situation, allowing them to fall back, wallow and remain dreaming. They remain dreaming but not breathing, and as their eyes close for the final time, I truly fail. Do not end up like the rest of the poor souls of my past, I promise that it does not end well.
So who am I really and what is my true purpose? Now, I already introduced myself earlier. I am Insomnia. I sense your agony, your loneliness and am called upon to aid you. I keep you from dismissing your sorrows and pushing them deeper and deeper. Those extra hours I gift you are meant to be cherished. I do not mean to cause anyone discomfort, they simply do not understand how to handle my offerings. I am invisible to your selective eye. I am simply a name that is thrown around as an undesirable condition. Something awful that should be avoided at all costs. You would pay to barricade me from your life with drugs and therapy. To continue living a miserable existence instead of accepting me. But I still hold out hope because you do. There is still a miniscule amount of wonder in your gaze, still an ounce of faith in your voice. If you did not believe that things would get better, then I would have disappeared long ago like I did with the others. I realize that I am unconventional and a little annoying at times. I understand that you are tired and desperately wish to experience the heavenly dreams I have deprived you of. Yet, as I look at you, looking up at me, seeing nothing but air, I know that you will be the one to break the curse. You will be the one to survive this and blossom into the socialite who I always knew you could be. All you have to do is help me help you.
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Wow. What a super unique take on the prompt. I love the use of second person in letter form. Second person can be hard to pull off, but you executed it perfectly. You manage to force the reader to become the main character, making them feel what they feel very vividly. Great job! PS: (If you have the time, I would really appreciate it if you checked out my latest story!)