Somnus Continuum

Most people are lucky to be awake for twelve or more hours a day; not i though. My day consists of three and a half hours which I must carefully plan and stick to. 4 minutes to shower, 6 to make coffee and a reheated meal and consume it. Ten minutes on the treadmill and another ten on the bike. Twenty minutes to check emails, advertise more stock and look at my shares, then the rest of the time is free for me to spend however I choose. I will leave the last 5 minutes before I sleep again for bedtime preparations, but that doesn’t take long, so generally I’m ready to sleep again when the time comes. No matter where I am or what I’m doing when the time is up, i will fall asleep.

It’s a rare condition that i have, something that is unnamed and unknown to many. Ever since I was little, my life has always been this way. When i was younger i had more time, though as I got older that changed. When i was 1-year old, i had ten hours in a day. As i got older, the day shortened, leaving me less and less time awake. Now, at 22, i am left with three and a half hours to live. Three and a half hours that i must get every minute out of. I squeeze every second out of those few hours like a juicer squeezes the last drops of juice from a ripe orange.

My three and a half hours today consist of my 4-minute shower, 6-minute coffee and reheated meal, 10-minute treadmill run, 10-minute bike ride, 5-minute writing sprint, and an 80-minute card game with my dad, the one who has been with me through this all. After my mum left when I was 10, taking my younger sisters, my dad stayed with me, making sure that I was ok. He taught me everything I know today, even how to change a tyre in case I ever drove, although that’s not likely. Now, I’m living on my own, in a small house on the edge of the town we live in called Emerald. Emerald is in central Queensland Australia, and it’s about 3 hours from any kind of major city, meaning that getting places doesn’t take long. Anyway, back to my dad who sometimes lets me call him Rob, short for Robert. He drops by while i am sleeping, checks the mail and takes care of my garden. He feeds my dog, ironically named cat and takes him for a walk or a drive out to the botanical gardens or the dam, depending on the weather.

My 44-year-old father looks 66, and it’s not because he smokes or anything, it’s the stress that all these years of looking after me has caused. He stresses more now that I’m living independently, although he tries to hide it from me. I don’t know what I’d do without him some days, and I wish there was a way I could repay him for all that he has done. Maybe when I’ve amassed a large sum of money I’ll buy him the 1957 Cadillac he’s been wanting, or I’ll take him on a holiday for a couple weeks. He can surf and do all the holiday things while I’m sleeping, god knows he needs a holiday. While a holiday may sound wonderful for some, it’s not ideal for all, especially me. Who wants to go on a holiday just to sleep? I don’t know if I could really call it sleeping though, since I don’t remember any dreams, and I’ve never moved or called out in my sleep, my father has watched me, and he says I’m almost dead. Death, I wonder what that’s like? Would I belong more in death than I do in life? So much of my life is sleeping that I can’t help but wonder if I wasn’t meant to live.

Most people find their niche in life and stay there. Or they find a niche, slip into it for a while then move on, finding another niche and repeating the process over again. I’ve not had that experience, like so many other experiences I’ve never had. Going on dates, first kisses, graduations, choosing my first car, the first time buying all the necessities one needs while growing from a little girl into a young woman and the first time getting caught smoking or drinking by my parents. I wish I could experience all this, but I know that I never will. How do you explain to a potential love interest that your only awake for three and a half hours a day? How do you fit yourself into a group of friends when most of them are sleeping during your waking hours? I’ve pondered these questions quite frequently in my short life, especially as a teenager.

Ah, there’s Rob. He’s early. I only wanted to get this down on paper. To tell my story, as weird as it is. It is your choice as the reader whether you believe me, but know each word is true. Or, as true as you think it is. This is my life. My crazy as hell, weird beyond belief life. I will enjoy it while I can, for I know that one day it will come to an end. Or will it? One will never know.

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