Stay Awake!

At least five minutes must have passed by now, I thought. This was dangerous territory. It was way too cosy. Too comfortably dark. The popcorn smell caressed my nasal passages and combined, harmoniously, with my snoozing breath. No. Wake up. You’ve got no more chances with this girl. If you fall asleep tonight, you will die alone! But sleep was more tempting to me than a woman. I scoured the earth for she that would accept a man that only wants to watch movies and sleep. To no avail, had been my efforts.

  So I accepted my fate. I must convince a woman that movies were just a hobby; sleep merely a necessity. I would conceal my passion for naps, in order to have some company in that solemn hour, between when the credits roll and I rest my head at night. I require nothing more than company, as I feel I can offer no more than that myself. I am not an intelligent person. I have no talents; no skills. I do not excel in anything at all. I have never created a single thing in my life and you would think I was the most unremarkable person you had ever met in yours.

  I was an appreciator; not an entertainer. I absorbed; I did not afflict. I was a member of the audience. That’s all. That’s all I ever wanted. But I had to, at the very least, stay awake some of the time, if I wanted society to accept me on some level. I once looked into the idea that my sleeping habits were conditional. It turns out, I’m just a lazy bastard. Literally. My dad left and I spent my whole life sleeping. Lazy… Bastard. My mum wasn’t much inclined toward affection either. The T.V. kept me company. Raised me. Ainsley Harriot taught me to cook. Neil Buchanan taught me to draw. The Blue Peter team gave me news. But when I discovered movies, that was all I needed thereafter. I learned the unapplicable from all the masters: ‘How to shoot’ by John Wayne; ‘How to fight’ by Bruce Lee; ‘How to quip’, by Arnie. It’s why I turned out to be such a useless human.

  This girl was broken enough to find something about me that was acceptable , and I didn’t want to ruin that. But I was tired. Always so tired. A movie was usually the thing that could keep me awake. But not this movie. This movie she had chosen. A sudden realization came to me: My most basic requirement should be someone who likes the same movies as I do. This was never going to work. Even in my highest state of consciousness, I could not stand this picture. I rarely trusted a film that had such good-looking people cast in every role.

  Another realization dawned: She had not tried to talk to me during the entire power cut. Five minutes is a long time to say nothing in the dark. I was too tired to notice her silence at first. That’s it. She’s not interested, clearly. I might as well sleep. I’ll let her watch and she can wake me up when it’s over. I’ll walk her to her car, we’ll say goodnight and go our separate ways.

  I’ll go home and watch something revolving around a loner who cares little for society’s injunctions. Not something where the main character has too much of a conscience, like ‘Taxi Driver’. I’m thinking more ‘The Big Lebowski’. I just wanna sleep and watch movies, man. I would relate to the fun, colourful person Jeff Bridges portrays, when I am at home, and am the King of my empty domain. But I go unnoticed in the outside world. There, I am an awkward passerby. Nothing interesting to say, or anything inquisitive to ask. A simple mind only, formed of action sequences and one-liners that required the perfect setup.

  The thing about movies is, sometimes they draw too much attention to what is missing in my life. For example, the problem the protagonist has to overcome is often just sorting their shit out. Dirk Diggler got off his arse and used his cock; Joe left for the volcano; Neo took the red pill. Sometimes, I wish they would opt out and take a nap. I could join them on that adventure.

  A bright light pierced through my eyelids. I held my hand up to cover them. Peering through my fingers, to see where the light was coming from. It faded slowly, revealing two figures floating above me. I was already half sure I was dreaming, but became certain when I saw that it was Leonardo DiCaprio and Meryl Streep. Dammit, I’ve already fallen asleep. That’s it then. Dying alone, it is.

 “What do you reckon, Leo?”, I asked my levitating visitor.

 “Let’s be honest, it’s not like you give anything back to the world, is it? I mean, it’d be hard for anyone to feel sorry for you, right?”, Leonardo DiCaprio had a fair point. I offered nothing to the world and I wouldn’t blame it for not missing me.

 “It’s not too late, you know”, Meryl Streep said, reassuringly. “OK, so maybe it’s not going to work with this one, but you could try again. Just be less sleepy with the next girl. Get your naps in before your date.”

 Leonard DiCaprio hovered closer, “And you know, it might be an idea to pick up a hobby. Or some kind of activity, some kind of contribution.”

 “Thanks Meryl, Thanks Leo”, before they could respond again, an even brighter light beamed upon me and brought me back to reality. I was awake again. Right, enough was enough. There was more to life than just movies and sleep. I stood up and went to leave, when the usher stopped before I could reach the aisle.

 “Sir”, he said, pointing behind my shoulder, “what about your friend?”. He left me to discover what he had pointed to. A sleeping angel. No sweeter sight could I have seen. I went to wake her, but stopped myself. I thought about how much I hated being woken up. Ok, so let’s think about this. Just because she fell asleep once, doesn’t mean she sleeps as much as I do. But there was a chance. It does suggest she didn’t like the movie, though, which is good. I give her a nudge, she startles and looks up at me.

 “Oh, sorry”, she said. “I always do that if it’s a rubbish film. I feel bad for choosing it.”

 “That’s ok. I just woke up myself” We laughed for a good few seconds. I felt good. Really alive, for once. I tried my luck, “Do you want to go for something to eat?”

 “Erm, not tonight. Another time. I’m pretty tired still, if I’m honest.”

I’m in love!
Culled from by Mike Rigby

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