It’s quarter past one in the morning and I’m not at a party….
….nor am I bent over a child with Calpol and tenderness. With rare exceptions, usually planned well in advance, I turn into a pumpkin at midnight. Only great affairs of State, childish emergencies or the promise of a party with masses of dancing will keep me from hiding under the duvet as soon as its dark.
But this is the third week that I have found myself downstairs, alone, watching the logs fall to embers.
I seem to have resurrected another me; one that long ago stayed up into the small hours arguing and talking, debating anything for the sheer hell of it. For fun. For the sake of an argument, or until the whiskey and fags ran out. Crazy ideas, mad thoughts, profound moments. (Probably profound. I can’t remember).
And now, I can’t sleep. Birkbeck does that to you. Literature does that to you. Ideas do that to you. My mind is buzzing with words and tangents, meanings, questions, images, texts. It doesn’t want to go to bed. It is resolutely ignoring the mental alarm clock it has tucked in its corner. It has become rebellious and studious; its programmed function as family diary, call system, menu planner, travel co-ordinator, nurse and cleaner seems to have stalled.
The house is quietly creaking into its slumbrous state. The clock by my desk is ticking at a faster rate than Great Aunt Norah’s clock in the hall, which measures out its beats with Victorian dignity. The dogs are dreaming in their baskets.
And I am alive. Awake. Again.