A Morning Account

I set my alarm for six in the morning, but I’m often awake earlier than that. Maybe it’s the firmness of the bed, or the misshapenness of the pillow, I don’t know, but something keeps waking me three or four times a night, every night. With the curtains drawn, my room is adequately dark, with the exception of the pulsating light above my room that startled me when I first saw it. The paranoid in me thinks it’s a recording light going on and off, the telltale sign of wishfully discreet surveillance. My rational, perhaps naïve side, tells me to stop being so stupid. Despite being awake before my alarm sounds, I don’t remove the covers and begin my day. Being awake that early feels like I was cheated from a full night’s rest, so I stubbornly cling to my blanket, wrapping myself up more tightly, in an attempt to compensate for lost comfort.

—I am a child again and it’s Saturday morning, the day I must do chores. My inner clock does not align with astronomical rotations and movements, causing my own body to rotate and move in my bed. I impatiently wait for someone to rise and emerge from their room, so that I may do so, as well—we had, after all, a morning hierarchy of waking. I could not watch TV or play video games before completing my chores, and I would not do my chores before at least one of my parents was awake for fear of waking them. So I had to wait.

I am awake again, many years later. There are no chores to complete, but I do not stir until it is time to wake up. The sounds from my adolescence, of doorknobs turning, of doors creaking, of water running as it is poured into the kettle for morning tea or coffee, are now replaced by my preferred alarm. When it goes off, I am quick to rise. “Finally,” I think, like when I was younger. “I can wake up now.”

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