Tuesday, 20 November 2012


Awake. Suddenly. Pitch black. Beside me, there is steady even breathing. Opening my eyes wide, scanning around, there’s not a glimmer of light. Dawn is still distant. What woke me? Not nerves. Not bladder. No tension. Not too hot. Nor too cold. One part of my intestine talks to another. A gentle breeze – outside. No quite a strong wind, moving fallen leaves. A few raindrops hit the window. I rub my eyes. Sparks in the blackness.
“Wake me up when September ends.”

I’ve good things on my horizon: tonight a visit from my expat sis, so why do odd thoughts crowd in? A clumsy comment. An undiplomatic swipe. An unacknowledged kindness. A half-forgotten task left undone at work. Events long past, forgotten, I thought, even by me. Why didn’t I ask, that time? Could I have helped? Things I wanted to ask my Dad. Is there any way of unlocking Mum’s fading memories? “Will you still need me / will you still feed me / when I’m 64?”

An itch on the side of my nose. A tickle at the back of my neck. Another borborygmus – I love that word. Are there enough spuds in the cupboard? What shall we have for pud? Did I miss a text from sis? Where did I put my phone? Waterloo – that infuriating Abba song blunders into my brain. Let’s swamp it out with “You fill up my senses / like a night in the forest...”
Shall we go to see the Northern Lights? Will I get a chance to start some Christmas letters? How could I forget to respond to those two lovely emails? What about that Madagascar reunion? And the kindle version of my lemur book? And the next Wanderlust piece? Should I get that knee op? And I must call the bank / insurance / optician / dentist/ bike shop... Now my bladder starts signalling unnecessarily. 5am. Intestines ask why-oh-why-oh-why? Maybe a stimulating cup of coffee will send me back to sleep.

While the kettle boils, I make a list – with one thing on it.
Back to bed. The cosy covers will warm my toes. An early-bird car rushes by – some poor soul is off to work already. A click and our hot water system starts up. 6ish. Empty the head. Concentrate on a black velvet curtain.

Maybe I’ll fall asleep five minutes before the alarm wakes me again.

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