Katie Greirson

How To Fall Asleep Like Humans Do

Start by staring at the ceiling. Know it’s called a popcorn ceiling. Wonder why it’s called a popcorn ceiling. Remember that you’ve already been told why, that you had your fingers covered in butter, that you shoved handfuls of it into your mouth and thought nothing ever tastes like it should here. Earth has so many things which are flavored like other things. What’s the point of spaghetti-flavored chips when you can eat spaghetti, twirling your utensil like humans do in their stupid, fancy way? You shudder at the thought of chip-flavoured spaghetti.

Hear something go BLING! and grumble when you realize what it is. Humans like the screens. Enjoy them like their bugs enjoy landing on your skin and biting you and learning your blood tastes different. You call them screens but they’re really called phones. And you don’t really understand the texting nonsense but you know it’s what makes the phones BLING! and that your human spends all night glancing at the screen between staring at you. Sigh. Remember that your human is asleep next to you and that, yes, they’re supposed to make those noises when they sleep. The growling noises. The noises that mean i’m asleep and don’t wake me up and no, don’t wake me up to complain that you can’t sleep. Actually, your human is kind and wouldn’t mind being woken, but you’re stubborn and lay on your back in quiet annoyance at this silly planet and its nighttime routines. Try closing your eyes. Lay in darkness. Lay in darkness. Groan and open your eyes.

Sleeping is new for you. Technically, you don’t need it. Technically, you don’t get tired. But your human bought a king-sized bed, bought new sheets that don’t irritate your skin. Taught you the difference between knives and forks, taught you why you grab a grocery cart and not just carryeverything in your arms. Wrote down what Earth foods upset you and which ones were digestible. Explained that you couldn’t keep the Halloween decorations up but had no real reason why other than they’re seasonal, okay? Had no real reason why some photos were framed and others stayed on their screens, why some words were curses and others weren’t even if they rhymed with the curses, why eating steak in the morning just feels wrong, i don’t know what to tell you. But there’s body wash when you already wash your body with soap, you said and they groaned and left the room. You followed and complained there’s grapefruit when you already have a fruit called grapes, why, why, why?

Your human held your hand when you told them you missed the skies on your planet, missed the aliens who looked like you, missed your language, missed, missed. Smiled when you came to their apartment the next day and found your human on top of a ladder, repainting the apartment magenta, the color of your skies. You didn’t know what to do but kiss their palms. Kiss their palms and learn how to sleep.

Look over and find your human still sleeping. Remember once they let you drive their car and you rolled it through a puddle and the water flew everywhere and how you didn’t understand the water cycle. You didn’t understand the water cycle but you knew rain. You knew rain like you understood running their fingers across your arms was a tender-thing, like you knew them shutting their eyes and leaning their head back was a spiritual-thing, like you knew them taking off their shoes and resting them on your lap was a trust-thing and also a tickle-thing. You knew rain and watched it fall onto the windshield and smiled along with your human. Sigh. Think nothing tastes like it should here and smile wide. Turn to your human, close your eyes, and touch your forehead to theirs. Hear them murmur. Close your eyes and wonder tiredly who will wake up first