A blue screen flickers in a room where the only sounds are the distant hum of a refrigerator and the perfectly timed ticking of a clock on the wall. There is no traffic droning by outside the window. There are no voices or footsteps in the hall. The neighbor’s piano was hushed hours ago. The world is asleep, but I am awake.

Persistent thoughts spin a web of bloodshot through my stinging eyes. Though my body is exhausted, my mind is on fire. I try to push it all away and breathe but deranged panic turns my insides into knots. I shake like a leaf, and I can’t catch my breath. I watch public be-headings on the Internet. I want to close my eyes and escape, but I don’t.

Dawn. Soon the sun will peek through my windows, to spread warmth across the wall. The world is waking up outside, where the static of night becomes a dull roar. In these clean early morning hours, I will feel safe enough to collapse. Maybe the sunrise will keep nightmares from dancing through my head.

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