Depression

It was One AM. Timmy was still awake, sitting on the floor of the kitchen, leaning against the cabinets. The lights were out, and had been for three hours. His wife was upstairs, sleeping peacefully in their bed. His daughter was asleep in her room.

Timmy couldn’t sleep. His two cats, Havoc and Chaos, wouldn’t come near him. They knew he wasn’t doing well. He knew it too. He knew all too well what was wrong, why he was awake at such a stupid hour. Why he wouldn’t sleep for another hour or more.

He sat on the floor in silence. The dishwasher had finished the dishes two hours earlier. The TV in the next room was off. The only sound came from the refrigerator as it cycled its compressor to cool its interior as needed.

Timmy didn’t even have his music player with him. He couldn’t have listened to any music right then, so it didn’t matter.

That was what was wrong. Nothing mattered. What he felt didn’t matter. What he wanted. What he dreamed of. None of it mattered. None of it had ever mattered. He closed his eyes and saw pages from user manuals for every program the office used. He saw procedure documents describing how to set up a computer for use on the office network. He saw the broken computers sitting on the workbench, waiting for him.

There was no escape. No peace. No sleep. No calm. No hope.

“I can’t sleep to that,” he opened his eyes, stared at the ceiling. He tried to find shapes in the corners, though he knew nothing was there. He stared at the fluorescent light cover until he could see the pattern of the plastic diamonds that gave it texture. “At least my eyes still work.” He wondered how long his eyes would work. How long it would be until he started developing macular degeneration, where staring into computer screens all day, forever, gradually burned his retinas up.

“Damn wrist.” He wrapped his left hand around his right wrist. “Stupid wrist.” He knew it was a stress injury that made his wrist hurt. Sometimes, it was like someone put a nail gun to his wrist, and pulled the trigger. Sometimes, it was a twinge, a reminder, his body telling him, “Remember all the nasty things you’ve done to me?”

Did he hate his job? Did he hate his life? Did he feel trapped? Hell, Timmy didn’t know. He didn’t care. Because it didn’t matter if he did. “Take care of your family, boy. Be a man about it. Take care of them.”

He crossed his arms, his hands on his elbows, and huddled on the floor, like it was winter, and he was cold, despite it being summer, and in the low eighties outside. “I’m OK,” he told himself. “I’m OK.” He knew it was a lie. He knew what depression was. He knew how depressed people behaved. He’d studied depression in college, in the psychology classes he’d taken. He knew depressed people did strange things, like stay awake all night, and sit on the kitchen floor in the dark.

“I’m OK.”

He didn’t cry. It wasn’t worth crying about. It just was. Whatever it was, whatever kept him awake, didn’t matter. His alarm would go off like it did every morning. And he’d move, like every morning, no matter how much it hurt. No matter how much he hurt.

So he sat on the floor of the kitchen, in the dark, until he felt he could sleep. Then, he walked to the sofa in the Family Room, and stretched out. He closed his eyes, and all too soon, his alarm woke him.


It’s April 4th, the fourth day of the 2015 A to Z Challenge. This is the fourth of 26 pieces I’m writing in April. Today, the letter D. Monday, the letter E. We get Sundays off. Time to start rolling the dice, and see what they tell me to write Monday.

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