Dreaming in Character

G.L. Jackson



In the hospital the night after surgery, stuck with tubes and needles pumping Dilaudid into my veins, drifting in and out of consciousness. 4am is my time to be awake, not a time of day to love or to hate, it’s just there, heavy and relentless. At 4am my mind likes to trick me into remembering everything I’ve done wrong and every injustice, real or perceived, large or small, because darkness lends itself to introspection. That night I fought against the narcotics, wanting to be rid of their vulgar unwelcome dizzying side effects. Little else to do, I turned on the television, the one tucked up into the angle of the ceiling. Flip: one channel. Flip: another. Flip: a third, a fourth, and so on, settling on Cartoon Network and Adult Swim. Watching television is a form of sleeping, I read once, I believe it was in that bible of wisdom Messages from Michael, and the statement resonated with me whether or not the book was channeled. That night television wasn’t a form of sleeping, not with Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex on and as I watched, realizing it had to be the final episode and the rest of it would forever more be ruined for me — if I remembered what happened — I told myself that if I could just pinpoint the dub voice actors and remember their names, recognize their voices, convince myself who they were, I would make it past this post-surgery night into the next day. There, Crispin Freeman and there, Mary Elizabeth McGlynn and so on. I had to struggle to put names to the voices but was proud of myself when I could because I’d just come through many hours of surgery and knew at least as far as useless trivia was concerned my brain would be all right after all. Night nurse Patrick stopped by and took a seat in the visitor’s chair and watched Ghost with me for a while before he turned to me and said in all my years as a night nurse I’ve never stopped in on a grown woman watching Cartoon Network at 4 in the morning and I thought two things. The first was welcome to my hell and the second was what a way to be a trailblazer for feminism: one anime at a time.


Author: G.L. Jackson

Writer, reader, amateur photographer. Mostly, I just like pretending to be a different person each day of the week.

2 thoughts on “4am

  1. I really like this. It’s dreamlike and interesting and the ending makes the story.


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