Last night, just after I turned out the light and was settling down to sleep, my obnoxious neighbor, the “Night Demon,” started banging on the door. I know from experience that if I breathe deeply and relax into the sensation of falling asleep that Night Demon will stop knocking and go away. And so he did. But at 2:30 a.m. when the dog woke me with her restlessness, Night Demon seized his opportunity, flung open the window and made a grand entrance.
In anticipation of a good party, he had brought along his friends Anxiety, Fear, Doubt, Worry, Anger, Frustration and Confusion. I could tell it was going to be a long, noisy night.
I considered texting a few of my friends to see if they wanted to participate in my nocturnal sojourn, but I have learned from experience that when Night Demon shows up he is best catered to alone. And so we partied. We explored the corners and recesses of unlit mental places, poured over experiences of the past, created improbable obstructionist scenarios, and just for fun, attempted to balance my checkbook. The head noise grew, and the palpable beat of tension played like a DJ spinning techno records, creating a sensation of energy and frenzy amid the dark velvet air of the night. Eventually my good friend Fatigue showed up, declared the party over, and escorted Night Demon and his friends to the door.
Sometimes when Night Demon comes to visit there are remnants of his stay. In place of the empty bottles, half-full glasses and crumbs everywhere, Night Demon and his crew leave behind lists scribbled on scraps of paper, incoherent journal entries, the computer on sleep mode, and occasionally the lukewarm cup of tea or glass of wine on the bedside table. This morning there were no traces of the party that took place the night before. Just the dull headache, like a hangover, reminded me of whom I had entertained while (perhaps) the rest of the neighborhood slept.