There once was a time when I didn't sleep for four days. Do you know what happens when you don't sleep? You start to hallucinate.
Back in high school, I had insomnia for two years. The hallucinations only began about a year into it, and they were subtle. It always happened when I was driving, and I'd see a huge semi-truck pull out in front of me, and I'd suddenly jerk to my left to avoid hitting it.
"WHAT THE FUCK!" my sister would say, when she was fortunate enough to witness my insanity.
"What? Didn't you just se---oh."
Then I'd realize the semi was gone, and that it had never been there in the first place.
"WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT, NATASHA?"
"I...was...just...making sure you were awake!"
"What do you mean 'making sure I was awake?' I was in the middle of telling you a story."
"I...was...pretending to be a racecar driver!"
"ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND?"
"Yep. You're out of your mind."
Alright, so maybe that's not so subtle. But it is when you compare it to The Man in My Closet.
I have told only one person this, and it was at the time that this was happening, during my freshman year of college. Ahem, here goes.
There was a man in my closet for about four days, the time in which I could not sleep. I'd be laying in bed, trying to sleep, and in the darkness of my bedroom, I'd turn over and face my closet door. And one night, there he was. The Man in My Closet.
Now, if I slept on my back or my stomach, this wouldn't be a problem. If there was a man on my ceiling, I think I'd be able to remember that humans can't crawl up walls and I'd realize I was imagining him. But I sleep on my side, which meant I had two places to look: toward my roommate's bed, or toward my closet. Where The Man was.
The first time I saw him, I couldn't move. You'd think if someone saw a black silhouette of a human standing in between their hangers, they'd leap up and get the hell away from those hangers. But me, nope. No, sir. Instead, I froze and I slowly pulled my blanket up toward my chin and eventually over my entire head.
"Yep, that'll get him, Natasha! No man can attack you when you have cotton on your face! Remember when you discovered that back in Kindergarten?"
And I stayed like that, trying not to breathe.
"That's right, Natasha, if you don't breathe, he'll forget that he JUST saw you. He'll even forget that he came in YOUR room to stand amongst YOUR long-sleeved shirts."
Then I couldn't breathe, so I made a little gap between the blanket and my face to breathe through. But then my lips felt vulnerable and I started to worry that The Man in My Closet would poke my lips. I wanted to look to see if he was still there, but what's even worse than getting poked in the lips is getting poked in the eye. Eventually, I worked up the nerve to leap out of bed and run not only out of my bedroom, but out of my dorm entirely.
I knocked on my neighbor's door, which was also home to my boyfriend.
"Can I sleep in here tonight?!"
"Yeah, of course...what is it?"
Looking back, I'm sure I looked panicked, bug-eyed, and ridiculous in my monkeys-and-bananas pajama pants that, come to think of it, were slightly see-through.
Upon entering his bedroom, we saw that his roommate had also invited a guest to spend the night. I was the only girl in the room.
"UHH...actually, can I sleep in your room?" he asked me.
Slowest. Yes. Ever. But we really had no choice.
We entered my dorm, and the terror struck me again. All I could think was:
Man is the warmest place to hide.
Can a full grown woman truly love a midget?
Alright, so I wasn't thinking that last one.
We walked into my bedroom and I immediately turned on the light.
"HEY! I got an idea! Let's sleep with the light on!"
"You're acting different."
Fuck. I knew I had to tell him. We hadn't been dating that long yet, so I didn't want to come across as a complete psycho. But, since I already was acting like one, I figured I'd go for the gold.
"There's a man in my closet."
"No there's not...?"
"I know. He's gone now."
"There was a man....in....your closet."
"He's only there when the lights are off."
"Oh my god you must think I'm crazy."
"A little bit, yeah."
"I'm TELLING you, there is a MAN. In my CLOSET."
Then he starts laughing at me. Total. Humiliation.
He spent the night, anyway, putting up with my sporadic whispers of,
"Do you see him? Do you see him?"
"Do you see him? Do you see him?"
"What about now? Is he there?"
"Look in my closet real quick, I can't look. See anything...unusual...?"
"Like a man?"
"Nope, don't see him."
This went on for three more days. I got comfortable enough to text the neighbor-boyfriend whenever The Man in My Closet appeared again, and he'd come up and lie down with me. He really had no choice. The texts were pretty urgent.
MAN IN MY CLOSET COME NOW
CLOSET MAN IS BACK. SAYS HE'D LIKE A WORD WITH YOU.
I HAVE NO CLOTHES ON AND I AM IN MY CLOSET
After those four days, I never saw him again.
...maybe that's because I got a night-light.