Night Owl

There’s a fine line between being a ‘night owl’ and being an insomniac, I think I may have crossed it…

A look at my phone tells me that it’s 3.15am, I ignore the texts and emails and messages and turn the phone over, and turn myself over, I’ll go back to sleep, it’s so early.  My bed is insanely comfortable and huge, I’ll definitely go back to sleep.

And then it starts, the brain that’s busier than the M25.

Should I get the tattoo?  Should I go to the guy in Edinburgh, the one with the perfectly waxed moustache? He’s brilliant.  Should I get a fringe?  I love fringes, I want a fringe. I’m going to get a fringe. But I’d need to straighten it every day.  I’m not getting a fringe.

Bollocks! I forgot to buy the extension lead for my new lights, I’ll do it in my lunch break.  Should I go shopping too, super quick?  I hate shopping on a Saturday, it depresses me.  Shit, we need milk.  Oh, I didn’t get the bread out of the freezer.


I hear footsteps in the street below my bedroom window, a runner.  A woman, judging by her light tread.  Who the fuck runs at 3.30am? Maybe I should go for a run? At least nobody would see me.  I could chuck on my trainers, and a hoodie, I could haul my ass up the hill, and nobody would see me about to have a coronary.  And there’d be no creepy men, tooting the horn, or worse, stopping the car to try and start an actual conversation.  I wonder if I should start wearing knackered lycra, a bobble hat and glasses that Velma from Scooby Doo would feel at home in when I go out at the weekend, va va voom! Haha! Maybe not.  DEFINITELY not.

I wish I could play piano. I should learn piano, I got to Grade 2.  I haven’t got room for a piano.  I wish I could play guitar.  I have got room for a guitar.  I should start learning chords now. On YouTube.  NO! GO TO SLEEP.

There’s a scraping at my window, It’s the shrub that grows around my front door.  I know it is.  But it could be a vampire? Trying to get in?  Yeah it could be a vampire. I wonder what it’s like? Eternal life. Boring? Probably a bit.  Shit! I didn’t ring the dentist. We’re all going to have no teeth.  I wonder what it would be like to have no teeth?  Difficult, I imagine.  God I’m a bad mum.  No I’m not.  What shall I make for dinner tonight?  Soup if we’ve got no teeth?

Agh! Must go back to sleep! MUST.

Is that an owl?  Oh! It is.  In fact it’s two owls!  The noise we imagine an owl making – the twiit twwooo is usually two owls calling to each other.  Where did I read that?  They are in my back garden, I can hear them.  I should go out and look for them.  I should go back to sleep.  I’m going to look for them.  I pull on pjs and wrap myself in a blanket.  My boots are by the door.  What am I doing?  It’s 4am?  I do really, really love owls though.  I wonder if I look like a ghost?  Or a mad woman?  A mad woman. Definitely.  There’s a wooden swing seat at the bottom of my garden so I sit on it. Ears bent for the owls.  No owls.  I can hear breathing.  It’s not me.  It’s the horse in the field next to me.  Do horses sleep standing up?  It’s pitch black I can’t see it.  No owls.  What if it’s not a horse?  What if it’s one of those giant black panthers that you sometimes see wobbly pictures of, that are said to live wild among us here, in England?  Someone I knew told me they’d seen one once, a huge black cat, where a huge black cat shouldn’t have been.  I believed him 100%, every word.”Kool thing, walking like a panther”, oh that song is going to be so stuck in my head now forever.  Which Kim is in Sonic Youth?  Deal or Gordon?  Gordon.  Yeah, definitely Gordon.  Big cats, roaming the countryside. I had no reason not to believe him, he had no reason to fabricate stories, he had me at “hey”.  But that was 100 years ago, and I can’t go there, that road has a huge red STOP sign on it.  I mean, big cats?  Roaming around LE16? I’ll never sleep again.  I’m cold.  And my bum is wet from this seat. No owls, not a hoot, just a possible horse/big cat situation.  I want to be back in bed. “Kool thing, walking like a panther…”

My bed is still completely warm.  I love my bed.  NO WAY! It’s that bastard owl again. I turn over, one arm and bare shoulder out of the covers, my fingers brushing the floor, eyes heavy.  I imagine the bed is a boat and my hand is gliding lazily through the water. I look up to the ceiling and I can see a clear sky full of stars, so beautiful. My boat is sailing from a little tributary out into the big wide sea, it’s such a little boat with such a tiny crew of one to be out in the big wide sea.  I hope I’ll be OK.  Keep looking up, at the stars, and dead ahead.  I think that’s the trick.  Don’t look down. Don’t look back.  I can hear the sound of the water lapping against the hull of the boat, the wood creaking as it crests and falls with the waves. I skim the water with my fingers and try to remember the names of all the constellations that are looking down at me, millions of light years away.  The Seven Sisters, Pleides, Orion – and his belt, the Great Bear.  I am sailing away and it’s so, so good and I’m OK that I’m bobbing along, minuscule and alone in this enormous ocean.

And then the door to my bedroom flings open and a wild haired little girl who smells of warm, deep sleep and clean laundry clambers into bed with me and hugs me tight and kisses me, burrowing her way down into the deep folds of the covers, tucking her legs into the shape of my own legs.

And the alarm goes off.

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