(A piece from almost 20 years ago: Originally published in The New York Times Magazine – July 1996)
I would steal an hour of Steve’s sleep if I could. I would slip beneath his eyelids and yank it right out of him. He would feel nothing. Nor would I — neither remorse nor shame. One hour of perfect unconsciousness: one clean, soundless dive, deeper and deeper, as far as my lungs would take me. I would come up for air before he woke. Instead, I lie motionless, sewn to the sheets by the smallest demons, watching his silhouette against the bedroom blinds. Fondness becomes hostility. How does he do this for eight hours? I listen to his tranquil breathing, furious that he sleeps while I cannot.
Finally, at 3 A.M., I snip the threads, discard my carcass at bedside and leave it behind in disgust. Time for the insomniac to make his rounds. I creep into the next room, where I feel a thrilling freedom from my own body. I am naked, but not cold; neither thirsty nor hungry; I can smell nothing. My eyesight is shot; I cannot face the TV, work or read. The plug is out of the socket, the circadian clock stopped, and I roam the apartment of my own power, on my own theory of time, occupying a fragile space between dreaming and functioning.