Before drifting away entirely, he found himself reflecting – not for the first time – on the peculiarity of adults. They tool laxatives, liquor, or sleeping pills to drive away their terrors so that sleep would come, and their terrors were so tame and domestic: the job, the money, what the teacher will think if I can’t get Jennie nicer clothes, does my wife still love me, who are my friends. They were pallid compared to the fears every child lies cheek and jowl with in his dark bed, with no one to confess to in hope of perfect understanding but another child. There is no group therapy or psychiatry or community social services for the child who must cope with the thing under the bed or in the cellar every night, the thing which leers and capers and threatens just beyond the point where vision will reach. The same lonely battle must be fought night after night and the only cure is the eventual ossification of the imaginary faculties, and this is called adulthood.
When you come from the city to the town you lie wakeful in the absence of noise at first. You wait for something to break it: the cough of shattering glass, the squeal of tires blistering against the pavement, perhaps a scream. But there is nothing but the unearthly hum of the telephone wires and so you wait and wait and then sleep badly. But when the town gets you, you sleep like the town and the town sleeps deep in its blood, like a bear.
Every widow wakes one morning, perhaps after years of pure and unwavering grieving, to realize she slept a good night’s sleep, and will be able to eat breakfast, and doesn’t hear her husband’s ghost all the time, but only some of the time. Her grief is replaced with a useful sadness. Every parent who loses a child finds a way to laugh again. The timbre begins to fade. The edge dulls. The hurt lessens. Every love is carved from loss. Mine was. Yours is. Your great-great-great-grandchildren’s will be. But we learn to live in that love.
When I am traveling in a carriage, or walking after a good meal, or during the night when I cannot sleep; it is on such occasions that ideas flow best and most abundantly.
Weren’t we all crazy in our sleep? What was sleep, after all, but the process by which we dumped our insanity into a dark subconscious pit and came out on the other side ready to eat cereal instead of our neighbor’s children?
When I die, I don’t want to go to heaven or hell. I want to stay on earth and haunt people. Turn the lights on in the kitchen when you thought you’ve turned them off. Hide under the bed and grab your leg when it dangles off while you’re sleeping. Sit in the backseat and show up in your rear-view mirror when you’re driving alone at night. Being a ghost sounds like a lot of fun!
The Dark Tower is the Fermat’s Last Theorem of film adaptations. At least that’s what I whisper into my pillow when I cry myself to sleep.