Iowa Writes

Sleep Apnea

INT. June's dream — NIGHT

Two college students, JUNE and WES, sit across from each other on WES'S BED.

J:    Are you ever gonna put that book down?
W:   Dude, I'm trying to read ahead—
      [June knocks the book out of his hand.]
J:    Meaning that stuff isn't important until later.
W:   Not much later, it's all due in only a week and this is technically less than halfway—
J:    Nuh-uh. Stop. You're gonna go crazy. Give . . . uh . . .
W:   The Relationship Between Tinnitus and Sleep Disturbances—
J:    People can't hear their peaceful flutes or crickets or whatever before bed. There. Boom. Done. Give it a rest. Talk to me.
W:   About what?
J:    About anything you want.
W:   Let's talk about Tinnitus.
J:    No.
W:   It's the medical term-
J:    No&mdash
       [They pause. June puts up her right index finger.]
J:    Wait.
W:   What?
J:    Okay, you're gonna think I'm shitting you but . . . I have this really weird feeling in this ear, like it's almost this kind of roaring and—and clicking and ringing kind of sound, all at once—
W:   That literally sounds like Tinnitus.
J:    Seriously, though, humor me, I'm being totally serious.
      [They pause.]
W:   Okay, fine.
J:    Thank you.
W:   . . . So— is it like, you can't hear at all? Or does it just kinda feel like a roaring and ringing thing in your ear? Or, like . . . w-what does it feel like, like, describe it to me.
J:    I guess . . . it feels like having water in your ear, it's like this weird, where it kind of feels like, kinda like a pulsing, I guess? I don't really know how to describe it.
W:   Ah, okay, well . . . It still sounds like Tinnitus.

J:    Do I need to go to a doctor?
W:   I dunno, does it hurt—
J:    I just really don't want to go to a doctor, though, you know?
W:   Wait, why not?
      [They talk over each other.]
J:    It's just my thing where—
W:   June—
J:    That I don't like people poking&mdash
W:   You're literally talking to&mdash
J:    In my business, you know—
W:   Now it's just kind of offensive—
J:    Shit, I'm sorry—
W:   June, it's not even about the ear anymore, why won't you go to a—
J:    But you have to know I'm not gonna change—
W:   Please, now I'm, like, I have to force you—
J:    Can't you just look? You have to have like fancy—
W:   No—
      [He pauses.]
W:   No.
J:    Okay, but can you just—
W:   I'm not going to stick anything in your ear.
J:    But why not?
W:   Because that's not how examinations work, for one, and for . . . two . . .  I'm only a student—
J:    But—
W:   But nothing, just go to a doctor for Christ's sake—
J:    What if it's something serious?
W:   That's why I'm telling you—
J:    No.
      [She pauses.]
J:    No.
      [They both pause. Wes blinks in confusion.]
W:   Jund, wuht ib daht?
J:    Wuht?
W:   Ipts . . . ib hooks iek wahdur kuhbindg owt oh ieour ear.
J:    Dehr's wahd—
W:   Dehr's wahder—
J:    Wahder—
W:   Wahder kunbingh owt oh ieour ear—
J:    Dehr's wahdur eveuriewhur—
W:   Jund, ieou av do wayk uhp—
J:    Iy kan'd bried—
W:   Wayk uhp—


About Iowa Writes

Since 2006, Iowa Writes has featured the work of Iowa-identified writers (whether they have Iowa roots or live here now) and work published by Iowa journals and publishers on The Daily Palette. Iowa Writes features poetry, fiction, or nonfiction twice a week on the Palette.

In November of 2008, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated Iowa City, Iowa, the world's third City of Literature, making the community part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

Iowa City has joined Edinburgh, Scotland and Melbourne, Australia as UNESCO Cities of Literature.

Find out more about submitting by contacting


As of publication, Jenna Sorensen is a third-year student at the University of Iowa. She is pursuing a double major in English and Graphic Design.

This page was first displayed
on September 13, 2017

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