Sleepy Tea

When I cannot sleep; when I have, a little, slept, but wake, and wake soon in, like an advert break arriving just merely after the opening creds – when I cannot sleep I get up and I make myself a tea.
We call this a ‘sleepy tea’, the forced removal from an unsleepable place; the distracting stimuli and then the aftertaste of tannin that reminds of happy mornings, dawn-beds and through-ers of student summers – unfailingly I sleep and sleep deeply after.
It is, oddly, 00:00 when I peek at the iPhone clock, and it is 01:16 when eventually I slip out of bed and with a little flashlight move for the stairs. The lamp on the landing below is on. The streetlights are off, on their new nightly programmes; the old-style darkness, surprising darkness that trips me into powercut thoughts. Along the street, before the bend, two figures, men, hunched in the donkey jackets of ghosts, are walking away, sweeping the pavement before them with the powder blue of their torches. I can’t work out who they are or what they’re doing walking out. The red dot of a parked car’s dashboard.
I pee in the first floor bathroom then go down to the kitchen, passing through the living room, a city of buildings that crouch and blink. Outside at the back the security light is on: cats – a cat – and I go to the back door and peer over, but no cat, and the light goes off.
I make tea.
The freezer, still on a warning on super-freeze, is making some slow progress to its targets, and now the fridge seems to have joined its gurgling rebelliousness. The oven says 01:23. I let go a fart, at the point in our house that is furthest from my sleeping wife.
Back beside her I read for the duration of my sleepy tea, by the rubbish, narrow beam of a headtorch, and work out ways to make my page-turning less loud; the paper edges on the bedclothes sharp and rasping. I hear a plane going over, the first of the unknown flights, and then I hunker down to sleep.

Street at Night

About Stevie Mitchell

I come from a long line of cartoons and beer. I was once peed on by a tiger. Hoping the resultant super-powers are yet to come, cos if these are they, then, grrrr....
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