“Well, of course it’s known that the older you get, the more difficult it is to fall asleep!” says Esther.
We once more sit together, a few friends in our favorite café and discuss our sleeping habits.
“I can’t fall asleep either!” I contribute to the talk.
“You? YOU? You sleep like a log, it seems that whenever I call you, I wake you up and then you yell at me! I think that a tsetse fly has bitten you and you have that sleeping disease!”
“Don’t be silly, the tsetse fly lives somewhere I don’t know where, and I live here!”
“OK so you two never met! Maybe you got stung in a former life and the sickness moved along with you into this life!”
“Let me tell you something," says Eva, "I tell my grandkids bedtime stories and they fall asleep beautifully; and now I do it to myself. Actually they are not stories but rather pretty fantasies. I imagine myself getting up one morning and having a beautiful soprano voice; I join the idol program and win the first price. What a wonderful feeling and with that feeling of bliss I fall asleep happily. So I keep on telling myself this story but after a week or so I get tired of it, and I now imagine myself getting up with a marvelous talent for painting. And here I am, at my own exhibition being admired and celebrated and again I can keep it up for a week or so until I am bored. Right now I imagine being the first Israeli woman astronaut, and can you imagine all that glory?”
Hedwa turns to her and says, disparagingly: “My God, you don’t have to imagine this! You go through life like an astronaut!! It’s not a fantasy, it’s real life!”!”
Eva is offended. These two never get along and use every opportunity to insult each other.
Ilana breaks the tension:
“Eva is doing something that someone called Walter Mitty did a long time ago. She plagiarizes an idea, but as far as I remember Mr. Mitty had no sleeping disorder. Was it a movie or a book? I don’t remember! Somehow I think it was connected to Danny Kaye. I for instance may wake up in the middle of the night after having a nightmare about my ex-husband. In my dream he is just as obnoxious as he was in real life, and then I am afraid to fall asleep again because he may come back!”
“It’s terrible not being able to fall asleep," says Bracha, "and none of the well-known recipes help in my case. I get out of bed, I walk around, I drink some hot milk with honey as my mother used to, I choose the most boring book and start to read, and then I finally give in and eat a piece of chocolate. But I hear there is a sleep clinic where you spend a night or two and they try to cure you. They put some electrodes on your head and monitor your sleep waves and…”
“Are you crazy," interrupts Sarah, "electrodes on your head? Do you want them to mess with your brain? Your brain is bad enough without electrodes!”
Bracha gets up insulted, takes her bag and starts to leave.
A scene which repeats itself every time we meet.
“Wait, wait," we all start to protest, "she is just joking!”
Should a bystander watch and hear us he would certainly wonder why we meet since all we do is just needle each other. But the bystander would be completely wrong because in reality we love and depend on each other. Our weekly disagreements stimulate our brains and we go home refreshed and full of new energy and of course looking forward to our next meeting.
That day on my way home I thought to myself that the simplest solution against insomnia is taking a pill. It’s not bad keeping a small secret, even from your best friends.