I wake up with shreds of a melody still whispering in my head. It’s mesmerizing; slow and nuanced, softly calling out for me to capture it somehow. I jump up – hit my head – and, rubbing my forehead, run to the pencil and paper I keep on my desk. Just in case I remember the music I dream of. Other people write down visions and messages from whatever higher power they believe in – I scribble music notes on hastily drawn staves, grasping for the echos of melodies. The last note escapes me, slipping away the way most dreams eventually do. So I grab a towel, put on a concerto by Tchaikovsky and go take a shower. When I’m back, the quiet music will have reached my favourite part. It’s 4am and as always, there’s no way I’m gonna fall asleep again.
When my mother finally wakes up, with messy hair and her eyes on book that’s probably older than me, I’ve made coffee, tidied my room, and jotted down a couple of lines of an unconvincing violin piece. Mom smiles as she finds the coffee I’ve left on the table for her, somehow managing to kiss me on the forehead, which feels as though it’s hit with a baseball bat, and sip her coffee at the same time. Later, on the school bus, my eyes flutter closed, a painful reminder of the sleep I’m losing. I’m abruptly jerked awake as the bus stops in front of my school. Kids hurry towards the door as if their life depends on it, kicking and knocking each other down. The bus driver shouts an exasperated “slowly everyone!” and they calm down almost unwillingly and continue to make their way towards the big ugly building slapped in the middle of a neighbourhood so suburban, it seems satirical.