I believe in the stretch of time before I fall asleep each night. Every night I come home and I can’t help but feel stressed from the day behind me. My body and mind are worn out due to heavy workloads, three-hour gym sessions, and the fight I just witnessed between my roommates. My emotions are exhausted and I can’t help but feel relieved that the only thing I have left to do is relax.
Before going to bed, I brush my teeth, change my clothes, and drink a cup of tea to calm my nerves. My bed is never made so I have to collect my sheets from the awkward angles where they wrestled with my feet the night before. I then turn off all the lights and crawl under my avalanche of covers. Once I’m comfortably tucked in, I let my mind out to play.
Sometimes I think about the events of that day. Sometimes I think about my mom back at home watching The Late Show alone, while my father snores on her lap. Sometimes I think about my best friend and how I’ll console her when her doomed relationship finally ends. Sometimes I think about politics, celebrities, boys I think are cute, people in different time zones, or how I should really be at my desk studying for that psych test. But no matter what I think about, I am always thinking. I always use those twenty precious minutes before I fade into the unconscious to think about whatever I want. It’s my favorite time of day. It’s the time when everything is completely about me. I can think about whoever or whatever I please without restraint. I can be impolite or overly critical. The world is putty in my strong, thoughtful hands. Some nights I imagine my life in fifteen years. In my state of mind before bed, I can master any profession I choose. My husband can be as charming and good-looking as I please. We can travel often, own a trendy apartment, buy expensive art and be the envy of our friends. Whether or not my before-bed aspirations ever come true doesn’t really matter. The reason I think so much before bed is to give my brain a recess. When I was young enough to carry a Power Rangers lunch box and wear light up Velcro sneakers, I lived for recess. Recess was in the middle of the day when I took a break from learning the times tables and practicing subject-verb agreement to go outside and run around aimlessly. Recess was when I had time to just be free and let myself wander. Recess was a release from the endless school day. Recess is my mind before I fall asleep each night. My thoughts have a chance to run free before falling into a peaceful slumber.
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