@loripalminteriTweets by @loripalminteri
The Fourth Hour
And so, it would seem, once again, when the Fourth Hour comes, I spring up, awake and alert, usually at 4am, but that’s only because I usually go to bed at midnight, it could be 3am, if I went to sleep earlier, or 5am if I went to sleep later. The time itself is irrelevant, it’s how much of it that lies the why, in which is an unsolvable riddle.
Falling asleep is hardly the issue. Most days I’m so run down tired at the end of the day, I could pass out almost anywhere. And still, on days where my mind is restless, there are pills and potions to slow the mind so the meat vehicle can necessarily recharge. But that doesn’t matter either. It doesn’t matter how tired, how action packed, or slow the day went. It didn’t matter if I went running that day or not. Nor did it make a difference if I took something to induce sleep. Always when the fourth hour comes, I’m awake.
There aren’t always dreams, but there usually are. They’re not always anxiety inducing, but they usually are. So maybe that’s it then? Maybe that’s why no matter when or how I go to sleep I shoot up at the Fourth Hour. Wide awake. Stress. Enemy number one. It’s just there to torture you. Man vs Self. Man vs The Fourth Hour.
Sure there was the plane crash dream, then the mysterious water creature with the fangs, the other one with the cockroaches, and ghost in the hall, but there are good dreams too… Dreams of my childhood home, and dreams of summertime on the ocean, dreams of laughing with someone loved. So it mustn’t be the dream itself. The dreams, the drugs, the time, none solve The Fourth Hour.
And why Four? Hadn’t it always been three that was the mystical and special number? Why Four? And why every night? And why is it sometimes I am drenched in sweat. My heart is racing. At the Fourth Hour, my adrenal gland is suddenly triggered to shock me back into being awake but I am still so tired.
Sometimes, I think, I may as well get up. I am anyway. And sometimes I do, but that’s usually just to pee. I know I’m still tired. I know I need more sleep. So, just as easily as I woke up, I’m able to sooth my mind back to sleep. Pull the covers around my face. Listen to the clock on the wall ticking, and no other sound but the clock on the wall ticking. Everyone is asleep. Everyone is asleep as time ticks away. Everyone else sleeps through the Fourth Hour.
Maybe there is no reason for it. Maybe the reason is sleep cycles. Maybe it’s madness. But none of that matters. The only thing that matters after waking up at the Fourth Hour is what to do next. Because that’s almost always all that matters. What to do next. So I lay there, trying to remember the last time I didn’t wake up at the Fourth Hour. But this is a waste a my precious time before the sun rises. So, instead, trick the mind into slowing the heart by thinking of something sweet. The color of the water in Hawaii. The sunset in Iceland. The stars in the night sky. Loving somebody. Being loved. It’s not so much playing stories in your head as it’s playing scenes. Little montages of what’s special to you, a carousal not so much of images but of feelings attached to images that make you calm, that make you feel home, safe, peaceful… Just like that, sleep comes again. And The Fourth Hour is nothing but an opportunity to remember why you are still happy.