Saturday, April 4, 2009

Night thoughts from a rare insomniac

A few things have conspired to make me feel rather stressed lately: Flora has been ill this week and it looked for a while like she might have to return to hospital, I'm still worn out from her previous hospital time, I'm very worried about a friend, work has been slightly stressful and inexorable, and I've been suffering from nausea myself. The upshot is that last night I could not sleep and was wide awake at 3am with my heart thudding and my brain buzzing.

As I lay in bed in that strange state of being awake but not quite, I heard a taxi draw up with the familiar thrum of a diesel engine and the dull thud of car doors being slammed. I was immediately taken back to the days before my ex-husband left me, when I would lie alone in bed waiting anxiously for him to come home from London after a drinking session. I never knew what sort of state he'd be in and quite often he'd lumber up the stairs smelling of drink, and sometimes vomit. Often he'd be keyed up and irrational and want to talk and talk , in an all too familiar circular fashion, regardless of my own tiredness while at other times he was so drunk he'd lie on the bed fully dressed like a heavy lump. Good times for either of us they were not.

Lying there in the wee small hours a moment of panic came over me. Suppose the last few years were just a dream and I was about to hear his key in the lock and hear him coming up the stairs. Rationally I knew this wasn't so but it took me a few seconds to compute this.

And then the people went into their house and I realised that I really was on my own. No one was going to come up the stairs, no one was going to demand anything of me. Being a single mother can be a lonely business and I imagine many women coping with families and the stresses of life on their own wish they could turn round in bed to someone who could hold them and tell them it's all OK. But I didn't have that when I was married anyway and last night I was glad there was no one there but me and my slumbering children. Our lives may not be perfect, I am a good enough Mum I hope but we all love each other, there is a kind of peace in our home punctuated by the odd disagreement we can all handle and I rarely lie awake at 3am in the morning wondering 'what next?'

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