Before you speak, ask yourself, is it kind, is it necessary, is it true, does it improve on the silence? -Sathya Sai Baba

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Time and Sleep

A. lives in the apartment above us with her possibly older brother. "Possibly" because both brother and sister have reached that indeterminate age where time has done most all it can to you for the moment, and the ravages of the years pause or plateau, leaving the body, damaged certainly, and much the worse for wear, but still somewhat serviceable, to go on for a little while unmolested. In looking at them, it is impossible to distinguish their ages. He may be older than she, or vice versa.

We often hear them come and go, walking around their apartment, and Katie and I speculate, both on the layout of their apartment (a constant source of speculation in New York City), and on what they might be doing. Walking - yes, certainly - but why are they walking to and fro at eleven at night, or four in the morning, or even the middle of the afternoon? Why do they tread above us, causing the ceiling - our ceiling, their floor - to creak and groan in protest? Why do they pace the length of the house, and which one of them is it doing the pacing? 

What keeps them awake on their constant rounds, pursued by what unknown hauntings at all hours? Is it regret for their mutual spinster- and bachelor-hood? She seems happy enough when we greet her on the occasions we meet. Are they lonely, with only the stale bread of their long companionship to comfort them? Or are they merely walking off the tiresome wakings of the aged, when sleep slips from beneath their eyelids and leaves them bereft and abandoned in the silent darkness, and they must walk the halls and bedrooms, searching, hoping to coax sleep back into their beds before the sun rises to begin another day. 

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