I write to beg your forgiveness. I hope it’s not too late to tell you how much you mean to me and what an essential part of my life you are. Please don’t walk out on me forever.
You were always there: starting at 6.30pm when I was a little one, straight after Neighbours, a bath and a storybook. Sleep you were part of my daily routine, my life as I knew it. Even on Christmas Eve, I knew how important you were: if I awoke in the night I would squeeze my eyes shut, willing myself to drift back off, in case Father Christmas clocked that I was conscious and would give my presents to another child; one deep in slumber.
A few years later I started to take advantage of you. It started with the odd careless occasion: engrossed in my Enid Blyton books I would sneak under the covers after lights out to read her magical stories by torchlight. Finding out whether Dick and Timmy the dog could rescue George from the smugglers (all whilst drinking lashings of ginger beer, eating sardines pressed into gingerbread and never, ever, questioning George’s sexual orientation) suddenly became more important than you.
At Girl Guide camp I rebelled from you further: exchanging ghost stories with friends, running about the campsite until the early hours, and singing “morning has broken” at the top of our voices when the sun started to rise. I laughed when the Guide leaders begged us to sleep, I laughed…
Then the sleepovers: discussing for hours in pain-staking detail exactly how I could get my latest crush to fall madly in love with me thus making Ronan Keating mad with envy; reading Sugar magazine from cover to cover; eventually falling asleep with pink hair mascara all over my pillow and waking up completely shattered. Such embarrassing behaviour.
In later years I whittled away night after night, talking about everything in my tiny world with my then love, who turned out to be a complete waste of time. The thrill of not going to bed was becoming addictive: the night seemed to have more to offer; talking in the dark made my teenage inhibitions disappear; and school hours, a daily routine, was a thing of the past.
At University I just didn’t need you. I could party all night and then still neglect you for lectures the next day. I discarded you time after time: sat in the computer room all night, starting and finishing crucial essays that I had known about for weeks: I would somehow write them in a night and take myself to bed at dawn. The next night, rather than recover, I would be dancing to Electric Six in the Student’s Union. Electric Six.
Then I started a full time job; and I wanted you a little bit more. Going to work made me feel tired. I started to think in the mornings “maybe I should have gone to bed earlier?” At the weekends I would have a decadent lie in (damn you, old me!!), but often with a fuzzy head from a night out: I never fully appreciated you in your purest form.
Now I want you; I want you more than ever. Only getting two hours of you has been torture. Four hours last week was incredible, but horrific! Because it has given me a taste of what four hours sleep used to be! If four hours sleep is that good, then what was eight like?! I was such a lucky, lucky girl to have you completely at my disposal. I am sorry for wasting you.
Please come back. I promise I will appreciate every hour, minute and second of our time together. At least let’s just have one night and see where we go from there. I know I sound desperate, yet I cannot stop myself. Sleep, you are my one, my only, my everything.