Can’t Sleep

Brittany couldn’t sleep. She thought it was because of the caffeinated iced tea she consumed at dinner, but it could have been her boyfriend’s dead body in the basement.

She had been staring at the ceiling for some time now, the clock said it had been an hour and a half, but to Brittany it felt more like a week. The longer she looked at the texturized paint, the more shapes she started to see. An elephant in the corner, an ice-cream cone next to it, a knife over here, a blood splatter in the corner, a basketball by the window.

She was tired but didn’t know what to do. When she was younger she’d call out for her mom to be cuddled to sleep. Being 28 and nine hours away from her parents she figured that wouldn’t work as well this time. The dead body might also make her mom a less-than-willing participant. She turned her head to the side and saw that it was now three in the morning. All of the bars were now closed and there was officially nothing to do in town.

She sighed.

She watched the minutes melt away on the digital clock for a while and then got up and slouched over to the kitchen. She had to step over a chair to get into the kitchen and tiptoe around broken glass to fill her glass up at the sink. As her cup filled the splotches of red on the stainless steel bounced around inside her water and it looked like they were floating in her glass. She shut off the faucet, danced through the glass, stepped over the chair again and walked into the dining room.

The table used to be organized with placemats, napkins and a one-year anniversary flower arrangement, but the vase was now shattered, resting in tiny shards on the floor and the flowers were wilting, spread out throughout the room.

She took a sip of her water. The moon outside was gorgeous and full. The light bounced off of it and into the dining room, lighting up the slivers of glass like little crystals. It reminded Brittany of the bracelet her boyfriend gave to her the night they celebrated their anniversary at the Italian restaurant downtown.

She started to wonder if she had made a mistake. She wished she could just get some sleep and deal with it in the morning, but that didn’t seem to be in the cards tonight. Although, she couldn’t imagine that anything that happened tonight was in any cards anywhere. She shrugged off the thought with another drink of water. It was bound to happen at some point, she had seen signs of it before tonight but didn’t want to admit to them. She had suggested treatment, he had suggested therapy, but tonight nobody suggested anything. There was still an empty beer bottle rolling around the living room floor, propelled by the train passing in the distance.

If she had dealt with this earlier than it wouldn’t have all boiled up like it did tonight. She knew it was a problem, she just never thought it would get this bad. Her water was getting warm the longer she sat there, but she still wasn’t tired. Her heart had finally stopped racing, but it wasn’t quite back to normal.

He should have done something, she thought, as she tried to pass the blame on to the victim. But you were the one that had to take action, another thought flickered across her brain.

“We could have solved it.” She was talking out loud now.

“We did, that’s what tonight was; a solution.”

“You just hate me, don’t you?” The glass in her hand was shaking.

“I did what was best for us.”

“Best for us? You mean best for you, you just want control.” The glass shook even more.

“I have control.”

“No you don’t!” Brittany tried to control the shaking glass, but something overcame her and the water poured out onto the floor. She threw the glass across the room and its pieces joined their vase counterparts and widened the ever-growing sea of crystals.

“You can’t stop me now. You were right though, you had the chance.”

“Shut up, shut up, shut up!”

“You should have listened to your boyfriend when he suggested therapy. You only have me to listen to now.”

“I won’t.” She yelled as she ran back down the hallway and into her bedroom. “I’ll show you who has control.”

“What are you doing? You can’t.”

Brittany tripped on the exchange from wood floors to carpet when she reached the room. She started crawling and searching for the knife she had seen earlier.

“I can, I’ll show you.”

“You would never.”

She reached for the knife in the corner.

“You can’t have me anymore.”


Brittany dragged the edge of the knife against her wrist.

“You stupid bitch!”

Brittany didn’t hear her imaginary friend; she was too busy concentrating on avoiding the pain. It hurt, but not as bad as she thought. She had been through pain before, and compared to that, this was nothing. She set the knife down on the carpet and leaned up against the bed. She had accepted her fate and she was okay with it.

Finally, she thought, she would get some rest away from the voices and the anger and the hate. It was the most peaceful she had been in years.

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