BROTHER OF SLEEP as part of RESOLUTION! 2014
This is the story of the musician Johannes Elias Alder, who took his own life at the age of twenty-two, after he had resolved never to sleep again.
It was as though it refused to come out, as though it were revolting against this world and would not set foot there of its own free will.
Sounds, noises, timbres, and tones arose, the like of which he had never heard before. Elias not only heard the sounds, he also saw them. He saw the air incessantly contracting and expanding. He saw into the valleys of sounds and into gigantic mountain ranges. He saw the hum of his own blood, the crackle of tufts of hair in his little fists. And his breath cut his nostrils in such shrill whistles that a raging summer wind would have sounded like a murmur in comparison. The juices of his stomach churned and clattered heavily around. An indescribable diversity cooed in his intestines. Gases expanded, hissed, or blew apart, the substance of his bones vibrated, and even the water in his eyes trembled with the dark beating of his heart. His range of hearing multiplied.
We must mention one last noise, a sound so filigree in form that it should by rights have been submerged in all the noise of the universe. It was the soft heartbeat of an unborn child, a fetus, a human female. What Elias had previously heard and seen, he forgot, but the sound of the unborn heart he did not. For it was the heartbeat of the person destined for him forever. It was the heartbeat of his beloved.
How, he stammered, could a man who was pure in heart claim that he loved a woman his whole life long, when he had done so only by day, and then perhaps only for the duration of a thought? That could not be true. For when sleeping one did not love. One is in a state of death, which was why it was no coincidence that death and sleep were called brothers. So sleeping time was a waste and consequently a sin. So he had decided to live his life awake, as new. And this new awakened life would bring him Elsbeth’s love and the certainty of eternal bliss in heaven.