Insomnia for Life

Insomnia for Life

by Julie Patten


My eyes are like shining torches, penetrating the darkness when I’d rather be asleep. Shapes emerge which I couldn’t see ten minutes ago. Now everything’s so clear that I might as well sit up and not pretend any longer that I’ll drop off before morning.

This isn’t the first night I’ve lain awake in the early hours. In fact, at one stage, I thought I might have to ask for sleeping tablets, not that the doctor would give them to me; but I resisted. Instead I increased my daytime exercise whenever I got the opportunity, using up all my energy as best I could, so I’d drop off the minute my head hit the pillow. It worked for a while. But the benefits were short-lived. Now I’m back where I started, waking up at three o’clock in the morning, being forced to confront my misery at the most depressing hour known to man.

I’m going to wrap the cover tightly round me now, not because it’ll help me sleep, but because it’s a bit deathly cold at this hour.

It needn’t have been like this; me lying here on my own with useless morbid thoughts. I should be lying with my husband, feeling his comforting warm body when I wake up in the night, or listening to his deep relaxed breathing and the occasional snore, when I can’t drop off myself; at least on the nights he bothered to come home. All I can hear now are trudging footsteps outside. But they’re reliable and regular….more than can be said for him. He’s only been gone three months. It still doesn’t feel real. It’s like he’s on holiday and could walk through the door any moment, except, of course, I know he won’t. What I need is a fresh start. No more memories.

I can hear those footsteps again. The prison wardens are pretty regular in this cell block. Maybe they think I’ll break out and murder someone else.


Julie Patten, living in Kendal and now retired, has been writing since September 2011. She has amassed a collection of eleven books including novels short stories and quirky rhymes, and is in the midst of writing a ninth novel. She hopes an agent or publisher will show interest in her work. Even though she has transformed her manuscripts into paperbacks, none are currently for sale. She is, however, happy to read out her work, if asked, and is especially keen to provide free readings in support of local charities. Anyone interested should email Julie.

Find out more about her writing on her website.


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