I remember how simple it used to be when I couldn't sleep. I'd slowly climb out of bed and walk down the hall to the stairway. I'd go halfway down and sit on the landing. Quietly, I'd curl up with my pink and blue plaid blanket. I could have stayed there forever, staring out the window at the stars. I probably would have, if my parents hadn't made me go back to bed.
I remember how safe I felt there. The carpeting was soft and my blanket always kept me warm. From my spot looking at the stars, I could hear the television and my parents' voices downstairs. It was much more comforting than the utter silence of my dark room upstairs.
I'm no longer six; I'm sixteen. The only thing the same about me is that I still can't seem to fall asleep. Now I can't sleep for different reasons. I worry about the test I didn't study for, or the project that I haven't started. I think about an argument I had with a friend and wonder why people I was close to seem so far away. And now I stare at the clock. Only six more hours until I have to get up and start all over again.
I don't remember when I stopped spending my nights on the landing. Maybe I should go back. I think I need its comfort now as much as then. c
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.