I wake at 3 AM every night—or every morning, I suppose. The Internet says my problem is spiritual, an unsettled spleen, or a bad mattress. The Internet is wrong. I hear cries in the darkness. I crawled into the attic and found nothing but cobwebs and bat carcasses.
My grandmother prescribed a shot of whiskey before bed. That only caused indigestion.
The crying changes each night. Some nights it’s a baby. Others a young woman. Sometimes, not often, it’s a man wailing. Those nights are the worst. Men crying reminds me of my father when my mother left him, left us.
I tried ear plugs, but they fell out. I sleep-ate on Ambien. I don’t need to gain another twenty-five pounds without enjoying it. It’s been a year and I feel like maybe I’m slightly crazy. The psychiatrist said I’m not schizophrenic, but to come back if I get paranoid or have different hallucinations. Except, I know it’s not hallucinations.
My priest said the church no longer conducts exorcisms. I tried a séance with the most reputable psychic I could find on Craigslist. My best friend’s aunt smudged every room and hung crystals in every doorway. My place smelled like sage for a week and I now have rainbows dancing in every room.
But the crying still wakes me.
I sat on my bed for two hours with a Ouija board, but it didn’t move. I bought a sound machine from Target, but that only made the wailing louder. My mother thinks I’m making it up to get attention.
So, here I am, sitting in a therapist’s waiting room rehearsing my story. Reliving every night, recalling every detail. The psychiatrist already confirmed that I’m not crazy, but I’m out of solutions and no one wants to hear about it anymore.
“It sounds like you’ve tried everything you can think of to get rid of this sound.”
I nod my head. I just told her that. I can’t believe I’m paying for this. Wait, yes I can. I hired a psychic and have five hundred dollars of crystals hanging from my doorways.
She writes something in her notepad. Her eyes aren’t glazed over, so there’s that.
“I’ll try anything.”
She taps her eraser on the pad of paper. “Have you considered accepting the crying?”
“Yes, as a part of your life. Something you can’t change.”
“But it’s driving me nuts.” Of all my ideas to deal with this noise, this might be the worst.
“What about it is driving you nuts?”
“It wakes me up every single night.”
I stare at her.
“Lots of people wake up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.”
“But this doesn’t make sense.”
“Does it have to?”
The timer buzzes.
I stare at the ceiling. Shadows cast by the streetlight dance on my wall. A baby cries. I think of electricity, motherboards, modern art, and all the other things that don’t make sense to me.