I am a back sleeper. A plank. I don’t move in my sleep or thrash about, even in the midst of dreams. And I do dream. A lot. I am dreaming now, of a sound. It’s the sound of an angry bee somewhere very nearby. I am terrified of bees. I have never been stung, but I know it will hurt. In fact, I am quite sure that I will die. But right now, I can’t find the bee, I can only hear it, and the fearful part of my brain that is not ready to die from a bee sting becomes more shrill than the buzzing noise. It shrieks at me: Wake up!
Then I open my eyes and see a light.
How much time does it take to realize that the light emanates from my cell phone? And how much more to comprehend the source of the buzzing? Nano seconds, perhaps. It feels longer, but I know it cannot be. I reach for the phone and push the on button, wondering who could this be? There are no words in the text. Only a photograph.
In the darkness and the silence, the photo glows. A sphere of dark shapes are surrounded by swirling colors – yellow, pink, blue, and green. Who sent this to me, and why? Is it a mistake? The number is not one I know.
It is impossible to think rationally when pulled from dreams and presented with a puzzle. I try to go back to sleep. Instead, I wonder about the person who sent a photo without explanation at 2AM. A stranger reaching out to someone else in the middle of the night. My head is filled with thoughts of wrong numbers and missed connections. I think about strangers, about all the people there are in the world, and how we are most of us strangers to one another. Stranger danger . . . Danger, danger, Will Robinson. We teach our children to run away.
Somewhere a clock is ticking, but I cannot sleep. My head is crammed with thoughts of strangers. Of long ago hook-handed madmen who lurked in the dark waiting for lovers to park. Of boogie-men and nightmares that carry us away; of drowning, falling, flying. Of noises that bother, unexplainable and irksome, buzzing, buzzing, and then once again back to bees. . . .
Beware the sound of a vibrating phone in the middle of the night. If it wakes you no good can come of it.
You have been warned.
There are so many things I should have been doing today. This was too good a challenge to pass up.