Kristine is a university student in her senior year. She studies at a university where students are smart, professors are punishing, requirements are ridiculous, and slackers are skewered.
Sometimes, Kristine doesn’t sleep. Instead, she spends her nights reading or typing away at the computer, cramming some requirement or other. When she feels sleepy, she fixes herself a mug of coffee, chugs it down, makes another, and settles herself again in front of the computer to type, type, type away or blankly stare at the screen. She tells herself, you have to finish this, you persistently plucky procrastinator. She tells herself, when you are dead, you can have all the sleep you want. This is probably why she wants to die.
Kristine is sitting in front of the computer, type type typing away. She has been awake for sixty-something hours now. She was making an online personality quiz for one of her classes when the quiz website went kaput and gobbled her quiz up. Twice. She smashed the keyboard keys in response, cursed the universe, fixed herself another mug of coffee, and encoded all the quiz details again. She has an exam tomorrow. She will not sleep tonight.
The next day, Kristine starts out for school. She has been awake for seventy-something hours. Her head feels like a pincushion, all needles and dumb gray fluff. Her ears are ringing. Her eyes hurt. She tries to walk straight.
Standing across her college, she is about to cross the street. You may know what will happen but she doesn’t. She thinks about her exams. She thinks about her papers. She stops thinking because thinking hurts her head. She steps down from the pavement and a car hits her. She falls on the concrete headfirst. her head bleeds, bleeds, bleeds, all the words and images and ideas seeping out in a puddling stream of red. Her eyes close.
Sleep, at last.