The sleep mask slips from my face and the clock digits blink at me – five am. I have another hour before dawn, mid dream and I want to get back into it, but his snoring like a bandsaw cuts the silence. I nudge him once, twice.
‘Could you please roll over?’
‘Sorry,’ he says.
It’s no use. All the sorries and the rolling over in the world cannot unblock his blocked nose and throat, so I take myself into the spare room, to the couch I hate to lie on when I wear black because the cats sleep there by day.
I wipe the couch before I lie down with my special blanket, the furry one, fake animal fur. It was once my daughter’s but she’s allergic to it, so I have taken it over as my night time blanket. I drape it over my cold body whenever I must play musical beds on account of the snoring.
I am in a bad mood. The dream has disappeared by now. It was a good dream, the sort that begs for continuation, rather like a story you don’t want to end.
My eyes are heavy, my mouth is dry. A slurp of water from the tap before I try to squeeze my overly long body onto this short couch.
I tell myself yet again, I should prepare better. It’s not every night that I find myself here but there are enough nights in the week. I should organise a better pillow. I should make sure the spare room blind is drawn. I should switch off the computer and printer whose lights blink on and off in that strange hypnotic way that reaches under my closed eye lids and will not let me get back to sleep.
I should prepare for these times. It’s worse than living with a baby whose cries interrupt my sleep at random intervals.
The cat slinks in and sits on top of my feet. She claws at the imitation blanket, which smells of dog. She tries to ruffle the blanket to size for comfort and my feet which were once freezing begin to heat up.
I shove her off with one heave on my right foot, but she’s back in an instant trying to slide in between my legs and the end of the couch. I must get back to sleep. I have only thirty minutes before the alarm, before the day begins.
Why does the world seem so bad when I am only half awake?