I am Hypnos, the God of Sleep.
One would imagine my job to be simple. All I really had to do was to put the humans into a state of slumber, peace and rest. It seems easy enough when you think about it, as sleep is considered a natural state that a human body would fall into. Equilibrium and rest, something that all forms settle into after periods of inactivity.
I’ve been mocked by my brother Thanatus (God of death) as he thought it was stressful touching just one human a day. Epiales (God of nightmares) showed disdain. My work was supposedly not as stressful as how much he had to drum up each day to create the nightmares to the few he visited. Morpheus (God of Dreams)boasted of his creativity. He had to work with humans’ sub-consciousness and create a different dream each time, to all who slept. Occasionally, he’d cheat and ask me to not visit a few, so he could skip on his job. Nevertheless, his was constant work.
They did the heavy lifting. I did the mundane. They scoffed. I bore their mocks in silence.
They do not know the trials and tribulations I face on the job. Let me assure you, what I do is hard. Not always, but yes, there’s always a human out there who makes my job just a bit more challenging than I’d like. I have no trouble taking the mockery of my brothers, I like to sleep myself but not always is my path without hindrances. Once you’ve heard of the stories and tales I relate, you’d agree too.
There are always the babies. The colicky ones and the ones who were restless from the beginning. The hormonal pregnant mothers not allowing their bodies to relax and get themselves and the husbands into a frenzy over the slightest diet, puke and water retention. Antsy moms have antsy babies. Then they go complain why the babies don’t sleep. I try my best, lullabies and warm baths help and I do my sprinkling towards the directions, but hey, am just a lesser God!
Have you seen all those bankers, stressing about the millions that float in and out of their sight and now they refuse to sleep in the worry that a wink would cost them more. Alcohol’s my help then.
Drinks help me in most cases. I nudge the humans towards the bottle. All I have to do is get them to have a few sips, then it’s just a matter of time. Half my job is done by these liquors, and I dare not breathe a word of this outside lest the envy I bring on to myself is turned to jealousy! It is indeed a dulling of the senses that’s required for me to get working on them. The resistance to rest, to allow the body and mind some rest so that their stress is not a stress anymore. Then again, I have to be careful too. In my haste to hurry the process I must not be unscrupulous. I should do what’s best done, with patience. With care, and patience.
Humans are a funny strange species. They carry backpacks of varying sizes. Within they carry little wishes, dreams and fears. The minds are constantly at work. The gears turning, changing, picking up speed and tempo, changing from one emotion to another, almost always in a state of unrest. It’s as amusing as it is sad. They fight what I offer in peace. They hold onto their emotions with a vehemence. It’s almost like they derive great pleasure in refusing to succumb. Misplaced notion of strength from where I stand.
It’s admirable too, if my primary purpose was not to bring sleep to them. That’s how my brothers think at least. They mutter and scratch their heads in astonishment, wonder how the humans manage it all. The tenacity, the perseverance and the marvel of survival. They are occasionally very simple too. Take for example a lady whom I have been trying to bestow some much needed rest.
She’s actually not complicated nor does she carry heavy backpacks. She has little whims and fancies I agree, but nothing that her own mind can’t reason and dream it up to bring satiety. Easily satiable she was. Then apparently, she fell in love. No, not the romantic-let’s-sit-on-a-gondola-on-a-starry-moonlit-night kid, but the silent kind. The one that would just be. I could never understand that kind myself, but I believe it exists in rare little pockets within the human community.
In the state that she was in, she fought me for just a bit longer as she wanted to think of conversations and situations with her eyes open. I let her. It was sweet watching her. She brought a tenderness into my heart, a smile on my lips, a hypnotic trance as I watched her in return. Happy and dreamy she stared glass -eyed. Morpheus took extra trouble creating fragile gentle tales for her to dream up. She was our little muse, and we protected her every night from Epiales. Wicked imp that he was, even he melted seeing her child-like face lay on the pillow, almond eyes closed under her sharply drawn eyebrows.
One night there were whispers in the trees. Untoward happenings were taking place and she was never the same again.
Epiales took over. As I watched, he wept alongside of her. I have never seen him lose heart over his duty. He was summoned against his will to create the ripples from her own fears that she had just faced. The fear was going nowhere. Morpheus tried nudging in, but the strength of the fears that Epiales held on her was too strong. Agony spread within all of us. I used all my power to bring her rest. I even tried getting her to drink more liquor. She would drink, and I’d take over. Epiales was always summoned. She would wake up sweating, soaked in her whimpers. Her nightmares always had her worst fears confirmed. The trusted one felt nothing for her anymore. The void was getting larger with her own rotting fear and guilt. A black hole emerged. Recurring nightmares of her being pushed down as the hand that she held, let go.
She would wake up with a start and then sink into a pool of her fears and tears. We would stand and watch helplessly. None of us could help her. Not bearing to see her smiling face in such pain, Epiales suggested we bring Thanatus into the picture, for which he has not heard the end of. The nerve!
Did I tell you how humans are a strange lot? Especially their women? Between you and me, I believe they give too much importance to the men in their lives, which the men do not understand, get or even deserve at times.
After a few months of such grief that she took us along on, just like that one night she slept even without my assistance. I had taken Morpheus with me as I no longer could brave the trip to her room alone. We reached the window and there we saw her in repose. A sight that needs detailed description so you my listeners will believe me.
She had a thin pink cotton tee shirt on and a white duvet with marigolds edged along the borders. Like she was laying on a fine spring lawn. Her black hair lay thick and loose across the white pillow. A few strands tucked under her ear, reaching up as if to kiss her full lips. She was on her side, curling her knees into herself, her toes curved and together. Her face rested on her left palm, while her right arm rested across the bed on the pillow. Almost like she was reaching for someone. Her chin tucked into her chest, her lips parted slightly, closed eyes drawing deep wedges on her smooth brown face. A forehead smooth with no vestige of the furrows of the past.
Epiales thought he saw a smile on her lips. Morpheus’ face cast down as he knew he was not needed, she was engrossed in her own dreams, and I knew. I knew that she deserved this sleep, and whatever it was that gave her, her rest, I hoped the peace would last.
See, sometimes my job’s easy, sometimes it’s hard, but there’s a perk that comes without me asking. I get to see miracles. There is hope in this world, and it is always beyond the call of the divinity. It’s within these humans themselves. Wish they understood the power of their own actions and words.
At least until they do, we brothers have our jobs cut out for us.