I tend to think too much when I'm unable to sleep.

For years now, I've had trouble sleeping. Every night, I climb into bed at ten, and every night I'm tossing and turning til about three. I've tried listening to music, leaving the lights on, total darkness, and different temperatures. Nothing helps me get my mind to slow down when I'm tired and ready for sleep. When I told the physician about it last year at the yearly bio-metric screening for work, he gave me some pills. They made me practically catatonic for eight hours, but they didn't get my brain shut off any better than usual.

I suppose most people my age and older probably don't sleep well. The younger people who don't remember the outbreak, I can't say, I mean Belle seems to pass out as soon as her head hits the pillow. I think the reason that I (and many people I've talked to my age) have so much trouble going down at night is the fact that we grew up in a world where what is normal now was unthinkably horrific. Now, when we see an infected body sit up after it dies, of course there's fear, there's adrenaline, there's sorrow. But there's no shock anymore. This is what happens now. All the time. Every day.

Some scientists have been reporting cases of bodies reactivating after a healthy death. Is this the new stage of PTA? Are we all infected, carrying this parasite, trait genes in almost all of us, so that when we die we will come back? The thought, to me, is exhausting. To try to fight something so huge seems impossible. Belle was the one who heard about these reports first. She told me over supper a few weeks back, like she was talking about the weather.

"You know, you don't even have to be sick for your body to come back now," she told me between bites of rice. "So that's good, now we don't have to suffer before we die."

It's like she assumes that everyone will get sick with this parasite when they die. Like, for people her age, this is life, and death is equivalent to PTA. Maybe it would be easier to look at it that way, instead of looking at it as this huge travesty to mankind. I just can't seem to wrap my head around understanding it from her point of view. I guess it's like that rhyme my mother used to sing when she was feeling well, 'because you can't hate the night if you've lived your whole life without life and you can't hate the dish if you've only ever eaten fish and you can't feel alone if it's all you've ever known. The deep sea anglerfish has no reason to be happy but it has no idea what else to be.' Maybe she doesn't know it's scary because it's all she knows.

I think at night, when I'm unable to sleep, and unfortunately I don't think about things that would help my work. I think, rather, about non-scientific, non-helpful ideas, about fear and hope and dreams and silly things. I think about the life that I could have had, but missed out on, because of PTA. I could have gone to high school with other people. Could have gone to college, had some kind of normal career. I could have met a guy. Or a girl. I've avoided the idea of partnership so long and with such passion, I don't even know what I would be interested in.

It's not like it would be easy to meet someone when I decided I wanted to date anyway. It's not like you can just go out barhopping these days, and even if you could, it's difficult to look sexy in an upgraded scuba suit. I can't date someone from work, I could loose my job for fraternizing. I guess it'll happen when it happens. Part of me feels like I'm ready to start looking, but part of me wants to get some answers at work first. Belle is enough company when I feel alone, but I also feel like there's a side of being human that I've neglected. I'm not sure. I need to find some way to sleep better and get my mind off these unimportant thoughts.

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