I woke up this morning at four ay em, local time. That made sense, because at home, we wake up at six most days. Probably my body will get with the PST program about two days after I get back to Kansas.
My brain had a moment where it failed to realize where my body was, my eyes, just making out the round-cornered diamonds of the metal mesh foundation for the bunk above. Two more sleeps. Two more sleeps, and I’ll be waking up in my own bed — one sleep in this bunk and one in an airplane.
I tried to go back to sleep. In spite of the fact that I had already clocked six hours of zees, four o’clock is too early for any body to be up. I tried to go back to sleep, but I couldn’t; I was hungry. Hungry in the literal sense of the word: my stomach began to churn, growling in the process.
The voice in my head whispered loudly to my stomach.
I rolled onto my other side, situated myself just so, closed my eyes, and willed my body back to sleep.
No matter how I positioned my torso, no matter how my arms hugged each other in a series of unsatisfactory intertwinings, no matter which particular splaying of the legs I tried, none would allow me to rest enough to fall back to sleep.
Then, of course, I did what many of us do when we can’t sleep — I began to think.
I began to think about my hunger. Not just my physical hunger, but my psychic hunger, my emotional hunger, the hunger of my soul.
I’ve been hungry for a Very Long Time. Hungry for something that will feed the ache which I feel in my psyche and my heart and my soul so deeply it manifests itself in myriad physical forms.
I know, by now, after all this time, that the ache will never be completely satisfied. Like physical hunger, I feed it, quelling it for some small hours, until it rises again.
At times, it seems as though I have little to offer that hunger, that ache. And so it continues to swell and throb at the center of my body, timed to the blood pulsing through my arteries and veins. At times, it seems to be temporarily dulled by the offering of a distraction, a diversion. Unlike physical hunger, though, it is always there.
That hunger is the continuous undercurrent of every second of every minute of every day of every week of every month of every year.
As much as I wish it would go away, my hunger, I cannot deny it.
I cannot deny that my hunger comes from the same source as my power.*
*This line was adapted from Adrienne Rich’s “Power”.