Most nights I wake and rarely return to sleep. When I do, I rise staring first at the clock, so pleased to have made it past seven or half past, scratching my head first and then perking to the crack of coffee beans downstairs while I run my hand over the still-warm impression on the other side of the bed. This is the exception. Half the time I am up sometime around two, the incongruities of "breakthrough" another reminder what my kidneys would be without sour droplets of medicine sniffed to counteract the side condition I so tire of battling, Diabetes Insipidus.
[Editor's note: Yes, the patient Alexander Miller has been reading Flaubert. Please bear with us.]
This night, now half past three, I let Noah outside when he stirs, as confused as I regarding my lack of sleep despite my tiredness. As I wait for him to roam about the yard, tentatively stepping about the dewy blades of green, I cast my gaze upward to the half moon, noting the dim outline of the darkened semicircle while squinting at its brighter counterpart. My life, I mused. One day as such, then the next as the other. A dove with a shattered wing one sunrise, the first robin of spring the next. Weak, then hale.
The past two days underscored this juxtaposition. Monday I succumbed to tears, weeping openly by the kitchen sink. The water ran into the pots and flowed over the sides as Madame MJ came to me and held me in her arms. I thirsted not for water but for iced water, for ice, and then something bitter and cold, lemons, ice cold citrus fruit, anything to sate the sand on my tongue and the cake around my lips. Yet I could not drink for my body could not take one more drop in it! My insides slapped this way and that with enough fluid to hear it so. Yet the thirst never ceased.
The next morning—Tuesday—I was doctor to the previous day's patient. I rose a new man, eagerly pursuing chores, rid of imbalances that had previously set my mast atilt. I drank when thirsty, attended to private matters without incident, drank water again, attended to private matters again, and on the day went until Madame MJ commented I was in fine fettle, as sturdy as a Picardy farmhand!
One more sleepless morning, now Wednesday, my eyes ascend to the half moon again, looking to one side and then the other—dark, light, dark, light—my eyes resting back on the dark without fail. Another morning at the tipping point, my flesh a touch plump with fluid not yet spent yet my lips already salty, craving the glass of water I must consider carefully before swallowing. I ask myself every morning, "Which half of the moon today?"