Counting Lost Sheep

“What do you think about when you can’t get to sleep?” I asked her.

She looked at me with surprise as if she hadn’t thought of me as the type of person that could ask such a question. After a pause in which she was absorbing this turn of events, she replied. “Sometimes I imagine what it must be like not to mind about anything. I don’t just mean what my friends think about me, that’s the most usual thing people care about, but anything. Whether I have any friends or not. Whether my parents love me. Whether I lose my job tomorrow. Whether I’m rich or poor. Whether I become paralysed and can never get out of bed again. Whether I live or die. I think that must be true freedom and that’s why I try to imagine it. But I worry that I’ve missed something. That try as I might to catalogue everything that I could not mind about, there will be something else that you can’t not mind about no matter how hard you try. I look for that critical thing. And in compiling my mental lists of what it could be I always fall asleep before I find it.”

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