Still Life Sunday: A Method for Sleep


15 A Method for Sleep

Every night at 9.30 PM, when the lights go out, the game begins.

It’s right after the parent wishes her daughter good night, makes the room go dark and leaves the door ajar. That’s the moment when the colors begin to gather. Some nights they are more pastel, some nights darker. It depends on the day.

The daughter draws the blanket right up to her ears, letting the warmth take over and observes how her body gets heavier. It’s as if the mattress is in love with her arms and legs, her back and her head, and squeezes her closer. It’s a nice thought. I like you too, bed, she thinks to herself.

But then it is time to spin the wheel and choose a story. The imaginary colorful wheel of stories spins and spins in the daughter’s mind until she thinks she can’t take the chaos of color anymore, and stops the wheel. The story for the night is… the wolf girl in the woods. The daughter smiles a tired smile, her eyes closed, her body heavy and already a little bit sleepy. This is one of her favorite stories.

Every night she plays the game. She spins the wheel, then makes it stop and takes the story it offers for the night. She tries to recall what happened in the story the last time she visited it and then lets her imagination take over. It’s her favorite way of making the time go under the blanket while she waits for the Sand Man.

(She isn’t quite sure if she still believes in the Sand Man but as she doesn’t know any other reason for why she falls asleep every night, she continues to refer to the mysterious man while she waits for her sleep.)

The wolf girl in the woods is one of her favorite stories because it is always filled with the most exciting adventures. In the woods, she gets to run through the blueberry bushes, letting her naked legs get scratched (but it doesn’t hurt). She can climb the trees, jump from rock to rock, take a dip in the cold but refreshing spring and sleep under a pine tree. And she can do all of this with her wolf friend, Otto.

This particular story is so wild, fun and adventurous that the daughter is almost less willing to fall asleep. Sometimes she wishes she could stay awake the whole night because then she could roam the woods as long as the stars stay in the sky.

She needs to take care of Otto and her wolf friend’s siblings. You see, they are in great danger. There’s a huntsman in the woods – a brown-haired, tall, heavy man, whose heavy boots can be heard from afar.

And the huntsman wants Otto and his siblings. Not as pets, not as friends, like the girl does, but for their fur. The daughter knows this and therefore she needs to stay in the woods with her friend and protect him from the huntsman. It’s important – she’s the only one who can trick the evil hunter to fall into the big, deep pit that they’ve been digging for several nights.

She is the heroine of the story, the one who can save the day. Otto is the other main character, her right hand (or rather, her right paw). And the huntsman is the enemy.

Night after night the daughter returns to this dream (if the wheel of stories is in her favor) to help Otto and his siblings escape and hide from the huntsman. And every night she tries to find out a way to trick the man into the pit. It’s a slow process, but she knows she will eventually succeed.

The daughter loves this story. But every night, after only a short time of continued adventures as the wolf girl in the woods, the Sand Man comes to her, and she falls asleep. Before the dreams take over, she tells herself that Otto must wait for another day for her to come to the rescue. But she will come to the woods again. She knows she will.



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