I sat in a tutorial for one of my university-level Poetry courses yesterday, and fell asleep. My tutor woke me with a worried expression on his brows.
“Please do not sleep in my class,” He said with a sigh. I assumed he got that a lot, but never from me.
I apologized excessively, explaining that i was tired.
I had barely slept in days, and not because of anything but my depression and insomnia. It seemed my body was finally becoming tired. I did not tell him this, though I knew he knew—in previous months I had shamefully informed him that I had been suffering from depression. ‘I am not skipping your class on purpose,’ I explained, ‘some days I just can’t force myself out of bed.’ It had been this way for years.
Yesterday, while I rambled apologetically, he interrupted and asked me, “Do you have friends?”
My brows furrowed. I was instantly embarrassed, thinking about the other people in the class. “Yes, sir, I do.”
He asked, “Friends you can talk to?”
My heart faltered. I wondered if anyone noticed my fright.
“I don’t mean to be facetious. It’s just that talking to someone, as some sort of release, tends to help most people sleep better.”
I nodded thoughtfully.
“It’s that or strenuous exercise.” my tutor added finally. “Those are my suggestions.” And then the class went back to discussing the themes in W.H. Auden’s poems.
I have been thinking, long and hard, about my friends. All day and night since class yesterday. I keep replaying the one sentence I answered with in my head: ‘yes, sir, I do.’
I do have friends. Many, in fact.
Only, we keep our friendships private and our conversations discreet. Where I’m from, talking to yourself is not just odd, but cause of grave concern.