Midnight Melancholia (inspired by Proust’s ‘Remembrance of things past’)

I wake up and look around yet my eyes lag behind, fractals of colour in various hues fade in and out, little pinpoints of light like looking at the sun on a summer’s day. Slowly dim outlines materialise, of the door, the table, the walls and the hold of sleep is lessened.  I remember hearing a soft, muffled crying; only moments ago the sound seemed clear, tangible but the memory has faded, shrivelled beyond the parameters of perception, like the smouldering ember of a once great fire, fallen into the plumbing depths of the past. I lay my hand against the pillow, expecting to discover dampness yet it is dry so too are my eyes. It is now I hear the soft, rhythmical drumming of the rain against the roof, the whistling wind protesting at being funnelled into some new crevice. I silently chide myself and mock my imagination at having conjured such a sight: some silent spectre weeping at my bed, nature seems to be the most likely culprit. I turn over and try to re-enter sleep’s realm, fumbling, staggering, trying to wrap the numbing cocoon around myself yet like a petulant child it refuses to come and instead the unwelcome guest insomnia takes its place. I sigh and let it enter, politeness demands it. It seems as a sort of reprisal for the day’s conformity, of all the things I didn’t do, all the thoughts and ideas I tied millstones around and threw into the well named ‘irrational’. It is the time when nagging thoughts that have been circling high like hawks during the day arrive; I can sense their presence, their leathery wings beating outside the window, waiting. We are allowed to return to ourselves, shielded from the judgements of others, to explore the neglected hallways of the mind and visit that still unfinished wing, that dusty attic, littered with fossilised memories and sift through them, feel their forgotten outlines. Insomnia, though it seems frustrating, offers respite, I let it stay and make its own peculiar demands and pleas, it may be clearing me out for some new delight or perhaps returning a long lost fragment of memory. Sleep, I know, will eventually return as it always does but I may be left a little more complete.


One thought on “Midnight Melancholia (inspired by Proust’s ‘Remembrance of things past’)”

  1. Stunning stuff. I particularly loved the first few sentences in which you express some fairly common experiences but with complete originality; I’m sure everyone can relate to the “fractals” simile but I doubt anyone’s ever heard it expressed like that before. Bravo.

    Just a couple of minor critiques. You use a lot of expressive and figurative language in your sentences, but I think you’ll find that if you apply a bit of reservation to them, your prose will be able to “breathe” better. Additionally, I think you meant “rhythmic” and not “rhythmical”.

    Fantastic reading choice as well; I always thought Proust’s “Remembrance” was slightly underrated amongst the 20th century classics…maybe those seven volumes seem a little intimidating, but Proust’s prose is easily some of my favourite stuff from the modern era.


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