INSOMNIA

This is the early spring of 2060. I sit cross-legged on the ground of the living room, the light drips through fresh bamboos leaves and floor-to-ceiling glass windows, blinks my eyes. Tears are growing. Adhering to Taoism, I breathe regularly and close my eyes. For thirty years, this is the only way I can get some rest. Then I see her, through the pale grey concrete of my house.

Three decades ago, a chemist tests a new agent. If someone takes it, he will no longer sleep and this night will be erased. I take that pill after that night.

That night, I spend with her. We stay together, the whole night.

Still in the early spring, tepid, desolate and interminable.

I travel to a small town with deadly languor. The air is moisture. I step in a hotel surrounded by a bamboo fence. She sits on an armchair, which is close to the stairs, with an embroidered long-sleeve white dress and a single earring. I stand at the corner of the corridor and look at her through the reflection of mirror on the wall. She keeps looking around and clenching her fingers. A man in a black suit comes from the upper stairs with an earring in his hand. The earring swings in the air, reflecting the moonlight. He kisses her forehead and leaves the earring in her sweaty hand. Then he leaves the hotel. When I turn around following his steps, I see him embrace a young woman in a black long coat who laughs. They get in a car. She sits there. I pretend to check in and walk closer to her.

I put my suitcase on the edge of her dress. She stands suddenly but stumbles. I get a chance to speak to her. I apologize awkwardly with some incoherent words. She smiles and leaves me there.

I go to the lounge of the hotel after I leave my suitcase in my room. The bamboo fence creates an intimate space. Through the glass ceiling, the moon is covered by layered clouds. I see her sitting at the corner, but I choose another table not far from her. When I raise my head, we make eye contact. I lower my head instantly and write a location on my cup mat. When I pass her, I give her the cup mat.

I walk through bamboo, and stop at lake with a mirrored surface. It is located at the back of the hotel. There is another road towards the gate of the hotel. I stand at the shore of the lake, the moon appears little by little. I don't know if she will come or gets lost. When I hear the footsteps, I cannot believe it is not a dream. She looks at me and commends my handwriting. We walk along the lake, on the wet grass, I tell her my humdrum journey. A story rolls into another story, I keep talking. When I see that familiar car stopping at the gate of the hotel, I know she has to go. I want to hide her, like a toy, to hide in my chest pocket.

On the second day, we meet at the corridor, like other strangers, we don’t say any words, but I pick up the earring she drops on the floor. I don't know if it is an accident or a hint. That night, I go to the lake subconsciously. She sits on the grass. I see her bare feet in the clear lake. I cannot get closer to her. My eyes, my lips, my toes are vanishing in the lake, I want to be the water to heap up her. We waste that night and keep silent. I ask her if she needs a dry towel or if I can lift her back to the room. She snatches her feet back and cleans the remaining drops with her hands. She walks on the grass lightly and carries her shoes. The long dress covers her feet. Suddenly she tells me that she lost an earring, which is her engagement present. I stare back at her with an open mouth.

On the third night I knock on her room door after I see her husband leaving. She wears a night skirt. I give her the earring I picked up from the floor. She is peaceful. She begins to tell her story that stalls my leaving. Her doctor friend gave her a drug that keeps her awake for years. She tells me the stupid thing she does is taking that pill and dreams that she stays with her husband every minute, even every second. She walks towards me and touches my face. We are so close in that moment. I can feel the temperature of her breath. The smell of fresh water approaches me. The cold earring is in my hand, now I have a pair of them. I am touching her silk skirt, imagining her skin with tiny villus. I want to be foolish. I want to take that pill to stay with her for decades. She gives me a round transparent case with pink, blue and yellow pills. I choose the blue one and take it. I feel my body is clearing. I get rid of my stomach, eliminate my heart, and melt my blood.

Nothing. I become transparent.

My body is expanding like invisible molecules. I see her crying on the bed. She checks out the hotel with her husband a few days later but leaves the pair of earrings on the dressing table.

Henceforth I never sleep and never awake.