A subtle hint and a sudden jolt.
The anxiety alone is enough
to keep you wide awake at five in the morning.
You try to ignore it and go back to sleep,
but deep inside you know exactly
what's going to happen in the next five minutes or so.
It's like watching a silent bolt of lightning flash in the distance,
then waiting for the inevitable thunderous clap to reach your brain.
Before you even have time
to convince yourself of the truth,
it will have already arrived in full force.
A massive beast, trotting heavily,
dragging its razor sharp talons over your frontal lobe,
tearing neurons from every synapse
and sucking away any and all sanity with it.
You are held in an oblivion of sorts
where suddenly your entire world
is at the mercy of a single, all-seeing, all-powerful entity -
Make it stop.
Anything to make it stop.
You try to fight it at first,
but it's like throwing punches underwater.
So you compromise.
And you plead.
And you hope.
And at some point,
in the midst of the writhing restlessness
be it from exhaustion or some hidden blessing,
you fall asleep in the arms of your captor,
only to wake up with a residual footprint,
like a cranial dent,
a reminder that it was here,
and that at any moment,
it might return.
This is a personal description of what it's like to live with cluster headaches.