It’s 2.34am and I’m awake. Completely and utterly bloody awake. It’s not late at night and it’s not early in the morning. It’s the middle of the night.
It’s quiet. Like the grave my gran used to say. There are no noises inside or outside the house. I’ve come downstairs for a drink and just the kettle on.
It was very quiet. There are now noises inside the house. Noise inside the house. The kettle is loud, like a jet engine. Is it this loud during the day? Must be. Things don’t suddenly get louder at night. Apart from fridges. They get louder at night. They do all that gurgling and popping and fizzing and I often wonder should they really be making that noise? Especially in the middle of the night?
I’m trying not to wake anyone. Sleeping people upstairs. Sleeping cats downstairs. All things I love but all suddenly massive sleeping bastards in my head because they’re asleep and I’m not. In the middle of the night.
Did I mention it’s the middle of the night?
I pad around the kitchen waiting for this noisy kettle to boil. This kettle is too loud. There’s something wrong with it. It’s taking ages. A watched pot never boils. But at 3am things seem to take longer. Time stretches and 5 minutes feels like 20 and 2 minutes feels like a week. In the middle of the night.
I put the TV on. I’m conscious of how loud the TV is. Shit, shittity shitting shit, I say, quietly but probably very loudly. I fall over my slipper. I pick up the remote to lower the volume, but it’s the wrong remote and I put the DVD player on instead. Thor: The Dark World suddenly starts again and it’s no better than it was when we left it. Natalie Portman and that fella from Moone Boy having dinner.
The kettle clicks itself off. Finally. Abruptly. Terrifyingly loudly.
I stop still, motionless. I try to hear to work out if I’ve woken anybody with all the bloody noise I’ve made. All good. They’re still asleep. It is still the middle of the night.
I realise I don’t want a cup of tea. I just put the kettle on out of habit. I thought I wanted a cup of tea because I’d been lying in bed thinking I wanted a drink, and a painkiller for my rubbish ankle. I wanted a drink so I could take the painkiller, and I thought tea could send me back to sleep, like it does at the weekend, but it that’s probably not the tea that sends me back to sleep again but the sex we’ve just had, that post-coital, relaxed feeling, and now my mind is racing and I can’t calm down and I’m turning in bed like a whirling dervish which makes things worse and I know I should get up because each movement is keeping my partner awake because she has a sore neck and she’s got to see the GP tomorrow, and I think I should get a cup of tea and a painkiller and I wonder if she’s up for it but no, she has a sore neck and has a turning circle like a battleship because she can’t move her head and did I really just compare my girlfriend to a battleship and I’d better get up because I’m sure she can read my mind at times and if she just read that in my mind I’m a dead man.
Which is why I’m in the kitchen. In the middle of the night.
Is it a good idea to have a cup of tea in the middle of the night? What if it doesn’t send me back to sleep? What if it keeps me awake? What if the act of getting up, now I’m fully got up has rendered me unable to go back to sleep. Sod it I’m up now and I’ve made the tea and my laptop is open and I’m writing this and I’ve got to finish it now as it’s gonna be like that thing about Xanadu by Coleridge. If I don’t write it all now then it’ll just stop and I’ll end up mad and I remember having to recite it in class once and got a word wrong and said erect instead of decree, quoting a Frankie Goes To Hollywood song instead of Kubla Khan and I’m remembering this NOW? WHY NOW?
It’s the middle of the night. You remember everything in the middle of the night.
I think about my daughter’s birthday, which is soon. I think about the day she was born. Why did I suddenly think about birthdays? It’s the middle of the night, all rules are off and the gates are open and the littlest, most random thoughts can AND WILL pop into your head because it’s the middle of the night and you’re watching the Japanese Grand Prix practice session and you don’t even LIKE Formula 1, and you know who does and that makes you ANGRY because her birthday is also soon and you won’t get her a card, but you’ll send your daughter something nice. That’s something you can do now. That’s something good you can do in the middle of the night.
I miss them. I think how much I miss them when I’m not with them. I miss their voices, their smell, their hands in mine as we walk. Now, in the middle of the night. I fill my mind with them, I hold my breath and exhale, calmly. I wonder if love can be carried on the wind.
Denise LaSalle sung My Toot Toot. Bloody knew it was Denise something! That’s her name. It’s been bugging me for days. Well done brain. Thanks for that. But now I’ve got the song stuck in my head and now I might have to cut my head off to get rid of this earworm. In the middle of the night.
I take a sip of tea and it burns my mouth because it’s hot and I think I really didn’t want tea and why did I make tea and what the FUCKING HELL IS THAT OVER THERE? A spider the size of a dinner plate or motorbike. I read somewhere that this was spider mating season, or spider moving into your house season, or spider massive massive spider season and that one’s huge, and oh bollocks it’s gone into the open box of Lego and maybe I should get my daughter some more Lego for her birthday, and oh shite, I’ll have to get it out otherwise the girls will open the box and it’ll leap into their faces and scare them shitless, and so I get a cup and – bollocks – the cup had squash in it and now the squash is over the floor and I’ll have to clear it up and there’s NO WAY this spider will fit into this cup, perhaps I should get the washing bowl or a black bin liner, but I lift the top of the box off fully and can’t see the spider in the box and then notice the spider drop off the lid and fall on the floor and then I move, quickly, to trap the spider with the cup but then a box of Lego falls from on top of the other three boxes spilling Lego over everywhere.
Isn’t Lego loud when it falls in the middle of the night? If a tree falls in the woods…
And where’s that spider gone?
And I just trod on an upturned plug. Not for fun I hasten to add, in trying to avoid treading on some Lego.
In the middle of the night.
And now I’ve got to clean up that spilt squash, and I should finish this post, and I must turn over from the Formula 1 because I hate the Formula 1. I see on Channel 5 in 10 minutes they have Dogs Make You Laugh Out Loud. I might watch that. I’m not a fan of dogs though. So they might not. Make me LOL that is.
I see the date in the corner of my screen and realise it was my dad’s birthday yesterday He died on his birthday. In the middle of the night.
Perhaps I’ll just go back to bed. I shouldn’t have got up.
After all, it is the middle of the night.
Do you have occasional moments of insomnia-based stupidity? How do you cope with not being able to sleep? Or can you sleep anyhow, anywhere, anyway? Please share any middle of the night based stories you can, because sharing is caring. Oh, and thanks for reading.