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The Lights That Keep Me Up At Night

And the reasons I keep them

By Janelle PolcynPublished 9 months ago 3 min read

The human eye can see the light of a single candle from a mile away in the dark. I know this fact because I heard it once, but I am also confident it’s true because I experience this phenomenon every night when I go to bed

When one light bulb is out, it’s enough that I struggle to read at night but, the single green pinprick light at the base of my charging port is keeping me awake. The light tells me my phone is fully charged now. It was blue when I set my phone there with only 12%. Now it’s green and reminding me how much time has passed.

I would just knock it off now that it’s green and the phone is full, but there is a flashing blue light on the other side of the room controlling the smart plug that works as a switch for the fairy lights in the closet. Even if I turned that light off, there is a steady orange light on the dehumidifier in that same corner. If I could turn off every light in the room, it would still be bright because there is a street light outside that, unlike every other light in town, refuses to burn out.

If I were braver, I would be grateful for that light as I took a late-night stroll to put my mind to sleep. However, If I got up now, I would wake my sleeping husband. His chest heaves slowly under the sweaty blankets. I never will understand how the man is so sensitive to the heat, but he always bundles up when he sleeps. I insist we keep the fan on if there is even a hint of sweat oozing from his body. This prevents me from incessantly washing the sheets every day, like I’m trying to impress the queen or my mother or something. Mind you, she lives thousands of miles away and has never once asked me to wash my sheets.

I think about the lights again. I can’t turn off a single one. No. I have to leave them all on or tomorrow will be doomed before it even begins. No. I can control tomorrow by controlling today. I need my phone charged so my husband can reach me in an emergency, be it a hospital visit or a need for bread. I need the plug to stay on or my closet light won’t work and then I won’t be able to see to get dressed and I’ll wear something foolish. I can’t unplug the dehumidifier or we will both wake up with stuffy noses and be uncomfortable all day. No. They must all stay on.

Under the creaking, grinding gears of the fan, I consider the world for the 21st time this evening. I ponder the school system, public transportation, how few of my friends have ever considered running for a public office, and how far behind I am at work and in my chores. No matter how many steps I put into controlling tomorrow, something always goes wrong, at home or in the world. Maybe there’s another appliance with another pinprick light that will help me sleep better knowing the world has been reigned in. Or maybe the pink light it comes with will just add to my rainbow of sleepless thoughts.

Maybe a white noise machine will quiet my thoughts, but then, who will stay up late thinking through all of the problems plaguing our world to ensure it doesn’t fall apart more than it already is?

Before I know it, I’m waking up again, tired.


About the Creator

Janelle Polcyn

Writing is where I can think, but also where I can shut my brain off and just let the world disappear and the story consume me. Personal anecdotes, long-form fiction, micro-fiction, and things that make me smile.

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