Before Sleep

I slowly close my eyes, take a deep breath.

Trying to force down the memories, the emotions.

Just trying to get a good night sleep. Even that

Phrase feels foreign to me. Have I ever had one?

An image pops into my brain. My mom.

Curly hair, wrinkled skin. She looks older than

She is. That happens when you live her lifestyle.

Smoke slowly pooling out of her mouth as she

Brings her cigarette to her mouth for another puff.

The stench stains the house, stains my nostrils.

A defeated woman. That’s who she is.

I open my eyes.

My brother’s innocent face shows up in my head.

I close my eyes.

His shaggy hair, easy smile, laid back demeanor.

Before being wrestled to the ground by police,

On the kitchen floor, all of the yelling, loud noises, sirens

Invading the home from the street. I sit there, staring.

Just staring.

He doesn’t struggle. He knows why they’re here.

They have a reason to be.

I open my eyes.

Sleep seems to be evading me once again.

I close my eyes.

My dad is the one invading my brain this time.

His unsuspecting frame, reading glasses. Mustache.

He has a small face, like a mouse.

I sit on the couch as I listened to him argue

With my mom in a different room.

Argue and argue. I knew where it would go.

I knew.

Without warning I heard a loud clap.

A clap, flesh to flesh. His palm against her cheek.

I slowly walk down the hall, to the living room.

Peak around the corner. See his foot smash

Against her face. Could have cracked my skull.

She was strong. She was strong. The stench of

Cigarettes wafted its way over to me.

His foot smashed into her gut as she

Yelled out in pain.

I open my eyes.

I reach for my headphones, my phone.

Turn the music on, full volume and

Try to drown out the memories. Drown out the pain.

After falling asleep, maybe God won’t wake me up.

Maybe he won’t., and I’m OK with that.

I close my eyes.

Maybe I won’t wake up.

My breathing evens out.

I’m asleep.

One thought on “Before Sleep

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