Lyndsey Smith has an MA in Comparative Literature and lives in Dublin, Ireland.
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Growing up, the joke in my family was that I could sleep on broken glass if I had to Back then, I often slept for 11, 12, 13 hours at a time If I woke to a quiet house I would turn over and go back to sleep, no matter how long I’d been in bed for If I woke again and it was still quiet I would go downstairs to see if my father had killed my mother in the night, or the other way around
I stopped sleeping some time before my final year in school, when I was 16 or 17 I can’t remember exactly when At first I was bemused by it I would lie in bed and wait patiently for sleep to come I burned vanilla scented candles and read huge novels, The Count of Monte Cristo, Great Expectations, War and Peace, Middlemarch Nothing worked When I realised I was never going to sleep again I was furious What had I ever done? So I stopped trying I drank hot chocolate late into the night and wrote stories about girls who were dying to be saved, but in the end just died Afterwards, I ripped them into tiny pieces that my mother wouldn’t be able to read when she was going through my waste basket and searching under my bed
I’ve tried all the cures for insomnia – counting sheep, counting numbers, warm baths, hot showers, warm milky drinks, chamomile tea, sleeping pills, magnesium, going to bed at the same time every night, herbal remedies, massage, sex, drunkenness – but the only thing that really works is to stop being miserable
As a rule, I don’t do well at parties, but I went along with it to seem good humoured and young, or at least as young as I was pretending to be I’d been searching for somewhere to live for weeks when Kate’s ad appeared ‘If you like books and music, we’ll get along’, it said, ‘Must like cats’ I’d read hundreds of ads by then and was sure no one in Dublin wanted to live with a 37-year-old proofreader, not even the 37-year-olds In my