American Sad Bedtime

It was a quarter past ten and Michael was lying in bed staring at the stucco on his ceiling, connecting dots with his eyes. He had shut his bedroom light off what felt like ages ago, but his eyes had adjusted and the light from the street lamps coming in through his window was enough for him to make out the shapes of the dots above him. He stared at them with the intent of focusing on them hard enough to rid himself of every thought that was floating around in his mind.

He didn’t really want to fall asleep. If he fell asleep then the next time he opened his eyes it would be tomorrow and the last thing he wanted in the whole world was to experience tomorrow. It wasn’t so much tomorrow the date (May 3rd to be precise) that Michael was worried about. It was tomorrow the concept that terrified him. He knew there was a good chance that this tomorrow would behave exactly like today, which was yesterday’s tomorrow, and he couldn’t bear the thought of another day like that.

That’s not to say that anything particularly bad had happened today either. It was a typical day in Michael’s life. He woke up at his normal time and left for work as usual. He spent his day (a Tuesday to be precise) the same way he would normally spend Tuesdays at work. He’d returned home at a similar time as many Tuesdays before this. His evening had gone off without a hitch as well which had brought him here to his bed, staring at his ceiling, hoping never to shut his eyes again. For it was precisely the fact that his Tuesday had happened as it had that had Michael trembling with anxiety and fear.

Every Tuesday (and nearly every other day for that matter) had been almost exactly the same for some time now and it was driving Michael mad. By all rights Michael should have been jumping for joy to begin a new day like the ones he had lived. If someone had asked Michael how his day had gone today, and Michael had answered to the best of his descriptive ability, the person would more than likely declare that it sounded like Michael had a pretty good day. This filled Michael with an incredible amount of guilt.

“How could I be unhappy with a day like today? Everything in my life is perfectly okay and there are so many people out there who have it so much worse than I do. How could I feel so ungrateful for this gift of a life that I have?” he would often think to himself.

This is often where Michael would stop thinking about the subject and return to his perfectly reasonable life. But every once in a while he would allow himself to explore the problem deeper. 

Tonight was one of those nights.

Michael rested his hands behind his head and continued staring at the ceiling of his room. He was going through the motions once again, thinking about all the reasons he had to be happy and satisfied with his life.

He had a good job with good pay and good benefits. It came with a ton of job security as well. It wasn’t a difficult job by any means. The hours that he spent there weren’t short but there wasn’t a ton of overtime either. It was the kind of job they talked about on the news. The sort of job everyone thought about when they voted for their chosen political party. Who wouldn’t want that kind of job?

His life outside of work could also be described as good. Michael had more of a social lift than many guys his age. He had a small group of excellent, close friends whom he had shared some fun memories with. He was invited to parties and social events. Every once in a while, a woman would even make her way into Michael’s life for a short time. Michael certainly was not lacking in this area as well.

Michael had all of that and more and still he remained unhappy. Still he stared at his ceiling, dreading the fact that once he’d fallen asleep the next time he looked up it would be a new day.

“Things could be worse,” he thought to himself, turning to his side and shifting his gaze to the wall. “Things could always be worse.”

It had been quite some time since Michael had been faced with hardship. Longer than he could remember since he had faced some sort of challenge. It was certainly an odd thing to complain about but here he was, going over it in his mind time and again. He thought it a strange thing to feel like he was missing. Who wouldn’t want a comfortable life that was practically free of troubles? 

But that wasn’t what Michael wanted.

Somewhere along the line, Michael had lost his passion for being alive. As good as his life seemed, Michael no longer felt a connection to it and no longer wished to be a part of it. There was no purpose to his days; nothing that compelled him to even get out of bed at this point. Michael didn’t feel alive anymore. He just didn’t see the point.

“I have to make a change,” Michael concluded. What sort of change, he wasn’t sure, but he knew he needed to change something. Change anything. Change everything. Somewhere along the line, Michael had lost his sense of purpose and fell into a life that wasn’t his. He had gone a long way down a path and lost his way. It was a very safe path so he hadn’t been alerted to the danger of going so far off course for a very long time.

But he was all of a sudden very aware of his surroundings and quite certain that he was not where he wanted to be. Michael breathed a sigh of relief however because although he was in the wrong place, that was the first step towards getting back on the right path.

Michael decided that he was no longer afraid of tomorrow. Tomorrow he would begin down the right path. And with that, Michael closed his eyes and drifted off to sleep.

March 21, 2022 16:44

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06:45 Mar 31, 2022

Amazing job, it showed how routine, overthinking and depression feels like. You could feel how hard it was for the MC to keep going. Loved it!


Shawn O'Connor
00:26 Apr 05, 2022

Thank you for the feedback! Honored that you took the time to read it :) -Shawn


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F.O. Morier
06:16 Mar 31, 2022

Connecting dots with his eyes…. I love that! Great read- recognizable as well. Fati


Shawn O'Connor
00:24 Apr 05, 2022

I'm glad you enjoyed it! Thanks so much for reading <3 -Shawn


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