By Logan J.
No one wanted to be the kid who had to wear a mask. No sleepovers, no late night food runs, nothing. Craig sat alone in his room every single night because he was too embarrassed to have people see him in his sleeping mask. He put it on whenever he was getting ready to go to sleep because he couldn’t sleep without it. However, wearing it kept him up all night, tossing and turning until he finally got mad enough to throw the machine against the wall. It wasn’t fair.
Being born unable to sleep just wasn’t fair. Craig stood up and paced his tiny apartment. His mother was passed out drunk on the couch and his dad hadn’t come home from work in the past fifteen years. He flipped up his phone and punched a few keys. It was one in the morning; no one was awake for him to talk to. He sat next to him mom and poured himself a glass of vodka. His family might be a little dysfunctional, but they all loved each other. Craig was far from deprived. He thought about his sister, who was in law school at the community college and wondered why she hadn’t gotten home yet. He sipped the drink while aimlessly flipping through channels, finally settling on a well-known rerun from last year’s top reality show.
Nothing was exciting to Craig anymore. His head drooped to the side as he pondered why he felt so alone. A sudden snap brought him back to attention, and he blinked several times as he stole a glance at the window to his right. Aaron, his best friend was signaling wildly to him through the blinds. Craig could see that there was panic in his eyes and he needed to hurry. Craig slipped the keys from the marble bowl on the counter and barreled out of his apartment complex, almost knocking over Aaron. The two boys ran over to a nearby basketball court where they grew up. Actually, as Craig thought about it, this was where his mom took him when she found out he had sleep apnea. Basketball and ice cream was her solution, and it honestly was a pretty good one.
Craig’s sister laid in the middle of the court, struggling for breath. Aaron looked him over and explained that he had run into her while sneaking out to his girlfriend’s house and offered to take her home to keep her out of trouble. She spontaneously collapsed and started gasping for air when they were only a few yards from Craig’s home, and Aaron ran as fast as he could to get help. Craig’s sister had extreme asthma, and he raced home to get her inhaler. He couldn’t find it. He shook his mom but she wouldn’t wake up, typical.
He knocked over dishes and electronics all over the house searching when he stumbled on his machine, slumped in the corner of the room where he left it. He grabbed the machine as fast as he could and sprinted back to his sister, who had lost consciousness at this point. Aaron gave him a panicked look as Craig slipped the mask over his sister’s mouth and fired up the machine. After a few minutes of fear and stillness, Craig’s sister gasped awake. And Craig thanked God for his disease.