The Bipolar Cat By Gloria Garfunkel

March 30, 2015 Comments Off on The Bipolar Cat By Gloria Garfunkel

It starts when I pull an all-nighter to study for my Music Theory exam. I do OK. But from then on, I completely lose the ability to sleep, night after night, with no need for naps. I have no idea what is wrong, what has been triggered by the all-nighter. I just assume my sleep mechanisms are broken and I will never sleep again. My cat is awake with me all night, but at least she can sleep during the day.

I worry that something very bad is happening. I know that if you go without sleep for more than a week you can start hallucinating. Eventually, you can die. It does not occur to me to go to College Health Services for medication. After all, I don’t have an illness. Ten days go by and I fall into a deep sleep at 5AM. I sleep for several hours and awaken feeling strange. I have a desire to lick my hands, which are now furry paws. I am walking on all fours and can’t reach anything, but I can jump onto the desk where my former self is typing at the computer, still awake, but I am now the cat and can at least get some sleep.

So it goes for days on end. I can’t seem to track the date. My roommates worry that my human self is missing all my classes, just typing and typing. But I no longer have control over the person who was me. I am the cat and no one listens to a cat. I settle down at the foot of the bed, licking my arms and legs, preparing myself endlessly for a lovely nap.

© 2015 Gloria Garfunkel

Gloria Garfunkel has a Ph.D. in Psychology and Social Relations from Harvard University. A former psychotherapist, she has published many stories in literary journals and anthologies.

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