It’s mid December and I’m engulfed in my bed. The air is cool and comfortable. The ambience warm and relaxing with the glow of Christmas lights. the ceiling fan makes a valiant effort to lull me. But unobtainable sleep keeps me pining for something else. If I must be kept awake, I long for the sounds and songs of crickets. I’d give anything to be kept up by crickets, and be uncomfortably drenched in perspiration. Incapable of slumber. Maybe we are 4 or 5 years old, exhausted because we’ve played in a sprinkler and swam all day. We stink like chlorine and sometimes campfire. We can hardly keep our little eyes open. We don’t sleep though, not because of the crickets or the sweat. It’s because we are busy giggling over how I’m injured again thanks to a decision to ride bicycles without training wheels over motocross mounds. Maybe we are 7 or 8 years old and have unrolled some sleeping bags on the trampoline and are enthralled watching the big kids act silly. Occasionally we are star struck because one of them wants to jump on our makeshift sleeping quarters or have a brief chat with us. Maybe we are 10 or 11 years old and have been swinging and walking around the neighborhood since noon and it’s now nine o clock. I’m mad at you for an instant for making a new friend. But we will go home together and lie in pools of sweat and hear screaming crickets through the open window, trying to catch a breeze, and stay up all night planning tomorrow because it’s summer vacation. Maybe we are 13 or 14 years old. We’ve been together at the beach, my grammas, or the campground for 4 days now but we are still going to have a sleepover because, what’s one more night? We each lie in a puddle with no Air conditioning. We each have one of the headphones that are plugged into my iPod. In one ear We listen to gut wrenching emotional music. In the other ear is a distracting muffle of damn crickets. I might doze off but you’ll wake me after every song and want to discuss how deep the music is. I will be mad at you for waking me up. But glad to talk about angsty songs and their meaning in life with a kindred soul. Maybe we are 16 or 18 years old and have been left home alone by the deluded adults. Maybe we have boys over but we ignore them because we are busy with our own ridiculous antics. Maybe we have a responsibility in the morning that we miss because of not sleeping during the night. Not maybe, but certainly our parents will be home soon and there will be hell to pay for the mess we’ve made and the priorities we’ve disorganized. Maybe there is no boy and one of us is crying all night to the other about what he did. This won’t be the only salt water shed tonight. There might be tears and sweat. Laughter and sweat. Screams and sweat. Crickets and sweat. Maybe we are 19 or 21 years old. Maybe you are having another cigarette and I am having another drink. Maybe we aren’t speaking because something is making each of us sick and neither one of us wants to acknowledge our crosses. But we don’t mind sitting, staring at each others glistening faces, intently listening to the obnoxious but welcome crickets. Maybe WE are so loud with reminiscing and joking and singing and dancing that the neighbors are getting furious. We don’t care either way. We are busy roaring and sweating, while all we hear is our own joy and noise and occasionally the crickets. Maybe I am 26 years old. And December passes with the rest of the winter and the spring and I am sitting outside perspiring. and having another drink. Finally I will hear the orchestra of crickets I have lost sleep yearning for. Maybe it won’t take me long after hearing them to realize, that it’s not the crickets Have been wistful for. Maybe I will sit misty faced, choking back saline. Sleep still an estranged acquaintance.
And there will be crickets.