*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events I experienced firsthand; used with permission.
I fell asleep on the bathroom floor at work because I was working two jobs to make ends meet, and I wasn't getting enough sleep. One job was as a full-time bank teller, and the other job was as a part-time liquor store clerk.
I'd been a bank teller for over five years. In all those years, I don't think there was ever a time when I wasn't exhausted. Taking a second job only made things worse.
My husband worked at the same grocery store where we had met as teens. Our income barely covered our monthly bills, let alone anything else. We were living paycheck to paycheck, with no savings or investments to speak of. There was no time left over for us to pursue creative activities or most other leisurely endeavors, nor did we have money for entertainment beyond what we could find in our own backyards or at home watching television, and even those things were rare.
To help me get some rest during my lunch breaks, I would sometimes take a nap in the backseat of my car. I would lie down on the seat, cover myself with a blanket, and drift off to sleep. When I woke up from my twenty-minute nap, I felt refreshed and ready for work... for the next twenty minutes. Then I found myself exhausted again.
I wasn't sleeping enough to function, but I couldn't quit my part-time job. I needed money; there were bills to pay, groceries to purchase, and then there was rent on top of it all. So much pressure added onto my shoulders just trying to earn enough money while also saving up so that one day soon we could live in our own place together without our parents helping us financially.
When I got to work one day, I just wanted to go to sleep. I closed the bathroom door and lay down on the floor, telling myself I'd rest my eyes for just five minutes and be ready for the day.
I had never fallen asleep at work before, so when I woke up, I was terrified. I sat up quickly and tried to make sense of what had happened. Did someone come in while I was passed out? Did they step over me? Did they see me sprawled out on their bathroom floor? Had they thought about reporting me for sleeping at work, but decided against it?
I looked around—everything seemed normal. The only thing that indicated anything unusual had happened was my own disheveled appearance in the mirror above the sink. Besides, the door was still locked.
It felt like my life was always rushing forward with no downtime at all; my body never had time to fully relax between shifts because there were bills due on payday every week and no savings account set aside for emergencies like car repairs or dental appointments.
Ultimately, I quit my second job, and I did the best I could with less income. I paid some bills late, and I fell behind on housing payments, but I could finally get some rest. A good night's sleep is something money can't buy.
What do you think? Comments are welcome.