Dec 9, 2021

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

SHORT STORY: What a restless night like no other

Jackie’s eyes flew open and she stared into the silent darkness that surrounded her without blinking. As her eyes adjusted and the outlines of various pieces of furniture that had littered her room slowly became sharp, she wondered what had woken her up. It was so quiet that they could hear their hearts beating on the soft mattress. It had a soothing rhythm, a dull thud, arms bouncing, a dog barked so sharply that Jackie winced as if she had fallen off the bed. She sat up and mumbled an incredibly rude word several times. Sleep, however fleeting, had fled. Jackie reached for her phone on the bedside table and checked it, it was 3 a.m.

She was thirsty and had to go to the bathroom, so she squirmed out from under the covers and slipped on slippers gently bruised under the feet. Jackie stomped silently into the bathroom and then into the kitchen, where Jackie was back in a few minutes and quickly crawled back into the warmth of her bed.

She sipped her lukewarm water in the dead silence and played with her fingers. She had to be at work in a couple of hours and was exhausted despite her insomnia. In her mind she could hear the countdown of the time remaining until dawn. And why was this dog so quiet now? Probably asleep herself again, she thought irritably.

Long shadows danced on the walls as a light breeze from a half-open window moved her curtains. Jackie watched her as her mind wandered from one thought to the next, each hardly forming before the next took shape. Better remember to buy rice, she was almost out and about having a weekend dinner party … or did she have an extra bag in the store? No, that was pasta, she had plenty of pasta, she loved it … oh, like the pasta she had on vacation, peppered here and there with juicy seafood and a thick creamy sauce … and by the way, would she make it? special sauce for the dinner she was hosting? Because she was sure she didn’t have fresh garlic. And when she imagined a bulb of garlic hanging over her bed, she laughed out loud at the silly reference to fictional vampires being repelled by garlic. Where did that come from anyway? She decided to watch too many films and her mind went off the rails at this wicked hour of the night.

“Besides, you can’t come uninvited,” she muttered, laughing even more at the absurdity of her thoughts. then suddenly she was sitting bolt upright. She couldn’t remember if she locked the doors. Not against vampires, that was silly, but was it? Jackie sighed. Now she had to look, otherwise she would never fall asleep. So she slipped back on her slippers, trotted downstairs, checked both doors and windows for a good measure, went up the stairs when a nagging sensation pulled her back into the kitchen to check that the stove and kettle were off; before you go back to bed. It was 4 a.m. and Jackie closed her eyes determinedly. She hoped if she kept it closed long enough she would fall asleep. She had to.

The night was pleasantly cool, with a light breeze that just made the leaves of the voluminous trees in their neighborhood rustle. The soft noises lulled her so that Jackie felt her body sink lusciously into the mattress, relax and melt into nothing …

“Marriage! See what we have here! “A woman’s voice cut into the calm black veil of sleep that enveloped Jackie.

” Shh! You will wake up the neighbors … “, answered a deeper voice, although it was high with stress.

” Oho! “The woman called into the night:” You are not worried about my sleep, only the neighbors, right? You wake me up and tell me to shhhh ?! “There was a pause, presumably as she swallowed some air, and the man took this unique opportunity to represent his case.

” Come on yes, darling, “his voice was honey and butter,” I was caught at the curfew, you know how early 10 p.m. it is … I told you that I was late, didn’t I? “he gave her no chance to answer : “So instead I crashed at Kevin and …”

A gate creaked as it swung open and then slammed, Jackie stared at her ceiling and chewed the insides of her cheeks in anger. It was now five in the morning. She could tell because the birds timidly began to sing. The sky also became brighter, the darkness dissolved subtly but visibly. Jackie spread her fingers on the fluffy mattress and wiggled them back and forth.

Her eyelids felt heavy and her mind was exhausted, so lethargic that she felt drugged, but sleep was flirting now only with her. It got closer, then danced away, haunted by intrusive thoughts as she started planning her day. She would use the bypass, she didn’t feel like sitting in traffic … did she have enough fuel, by the way? If she didn’t, she’d have to take a different route … but was that road open at all? She texted her friend and asked … Oh! And invite her to the dinner she had, better not forget to buy rice …