Tony A. Smith

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I Can’t Sleep

I Can't Sleep

I Can’t Sleep

Some nights I just can’t go to sleep. Maybe it’s the cokes I drink during the day and all the caffeine I have surging through my body.  Right before I go to bed I try to calm myself a bit by drinking a glass of warm milk and popping some melatonin tablets in my body. I turn off the television and try to read a bit to get my mind in a low gear mode. That seems to work. Except for last night.

Last night  at about 10:00 I kept hearing the neighbor above us in our apartment here in Chicago yelling at her little three-year old daughter.  I am not sure what was happening but the screaming got louder and louder. It was one of those long slow screams. I could only hear bits and pieces of what was happening.  “Be quiet” “I told you to shut up and be quiet”.  The door slams shut behind her and my ceiling rattles below.  The crying gets louder.  I have never met my neighbor. I live alone and I try to keep to myself since all I do is mainly work. Working six days a week takes a toll on a man and I am usually so dog tired when I get home at 8:00 and have dinner, that all I wanna do is sleep. I know she is a single mother with her one daughter that she takes to a friend’s house during the day since my Landlord, Jerry,  told me that when I first moved in here six months ago. That’s about all I can tell you about her.

It must be hard being a single mother and trying to make ends meet. To have to raise a young daughter all on your own. There has to be a lot of stress in a person’s life to come home to a crying baby after working all day long. I know how stressed out I am with just having to work. Chicago traffic and all of the hard nose aggressive drivers that try to pile drive you with their cars is stress enough for anyone. I can’t imagine the stress load she must have.

I listen to see if I can hear anything after the door slamming but all I hear is the sound of silence. And then.. I hear crying again. This time it is louder than I have ever heard before. “I told you to shut up, Carly. Shut up and go to sleep.” ” Please don’t shake me mama, I will do better” The crying gets louder and louder. And then – silence.  Finally, it sounds like the little one went to sleep.

I roll over and close my eyes. The melatonin is starting to kick in and I am really drowsy. I glance at my alarm clock at side of my bed on the night stand and it’s 12:00 am. I doze off to sleep.  An hour later I am awakened to some sort of red and blue flashing lights just outside my apartment. I pull open the blinds, rub my eyes and try to focus.  It looks like an ambulance.  It’s my neighbor lady who lives above me. The single mom.  She’s crying and has her hand to her mouth talking to the paramedics.

I moved a month or so after that to the Big D – Dallas, Texas.  I’m not quite sure what happened that night when the ambulance showed up at the apartments where I lived. It’s been ten years since I lived in that crazy city of Chicago.  Boy am I glad I moved from that place. I pour myself a hot cup of coffee and sit down to read my newspaper and there on the front page of the Dallas Morning News I see a picture of what looks like the lady that used to live above me in Chicago.  The headline reads ” Theresa Phillips Released From Illinois State Prison.”  I can’t believe it’s her and I continue reading.

Theresa Phillips convicted felon was released this last Sunday from Illinois State Prison after being imprisoned for the death of her three-year old daughter 10 years ago. The jury convicted Phillips on charges of manslaughter and the murder of her young three-year old daughter.  The jury found Phillips guilty after only 1 hour of deliberation. Evidence showed that Phillips had repeatedly abused and shaken her young daughter which caused severe brain damage and eventual death. During the imprisonment of Ms. Phillips, there were several attempts on her life by fellow inmates, and twice she narrowly survived.

“Carl”, Carl.”  “Yes sweetie.” – “Can you pour me a cup of coffee?  I’ll be right out to eat breakfast with you.”   I fold the newspaper over and get up to plop some rye toast in the toaster for my wife, Sheila. I grab a coffee cup from the cupboard and pour Sheila a cup of coffee and place it in her spot across from me.

It’s still hard to sleep some nights but nothing like it used to be when I lived in that crazy place in Chicago! What a place that was!  I can’t say the drivers are much better here in Dallas, but I can sure sleep better now that I have a home of my own and no one is living above me.


  1. Arts & Rhymes says:

    Oh what a heart breaking story… I live close to Chicago but then far away enough to have my little piece on Heaven on earth. What’s sad things like this happen in most peaceful surroundings too. Glad you have a better life in Dallas. I love DFW area, very fond memories of that place! Peace. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am glad to say this was only a fictional story that I made up. I should have clarified that. Sorry..


  3. milliethom says:

    Well written story, Tony – very convincing in its detail.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. jjspina says:

    Oh how tragic! So heartbreaking that a mother would do that. Sorry I got upset but just realized it was just a story. Thank God!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. that was the product of not being able to sleep early, a fiction story! That was good, it’s like a TV drama!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh, I’m so glad that was a work of fiction!! Very convincing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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