take one woman with low self esteem, but quite good hair
add one moronic illness
stir in some medication which causes hair to fall out
mix it all up and this is what you get...

Thursday, February 08, 2007


I woke up bewildered, at 3.40am. In my dream, I’d been laughing uncontrollably with one of my sisters. We were both standing in the kitchen of the house we grew up in which has not been in our family for nearly eight years, since my mother died. We were by the white, enamelled sink which had been replaced even earlier, bent double and wheezing with laughter – the sort of laughter that hurts your stomach and makes your eyes water. The sort of laughter where you lose sight of what you were originally laughing at. The sort of laughter where the sight of the other person, contorted with that strange mix of glee and discomfort, only serves to fuel the cycle.

Inevitably, I have no idea what we were laughing at in the dream. I just woke up, confused and slightly breathless, my heart beating a little too quickly.

Big was sleeping peacefully at my side.

I snuggled back down, but felt uncomfortably restless. I shut my eyes and was strangely aware of the emptiness of my stomach and the sound of the rain. Yes, rain, not snow, in the South West. I decided to reach for my “little helper” – my Trebor Extra Strong mints. There is something comforting about allowing its strong, minty sugariness to dissolve in my mouth. It’s an addiction I’ve had since my teenage years. I managed to kick the habit once; I switched to sugar free gum for a while, for the sake of my teeth, but it was no substitute, really.

As I fumbled in my bag (always beside my bed for such an eventuality), I felt a warm hand stroking my exposed back. I must have woken Big with my rustling.

“I’m just having a mint,” I explained. His silent response was to lie down on his back and beckon me into his armpit, or his "nook", as we term it. I obliged, resting my head there, the hairs on his chest tickling my face. With his arm, he drew me in close to his warmth, gently stroking my side. Soon, I noticed that he was scratching his neck and face in that determined fashion which indicated to me that he was probably asleep. The gentle snore confirmed this.

I, on the other hand, was now wide awake – I didn’t even feel my eyes trying to drag themselves shut as they often do as soon as I attain a horizontal position. Despite my reluctance to leave the warmth and comfort, I knew I just had to give in and go for a pee. This is usually the solution to unplanned wakefulness for me, and I must have got to sleep eventually, though I still remember being awake far more than is strictly necessary.

This morning – proper, almost civilised morning - Big took an inordinate amount of time to shut up the intolerable blurting of his alarm clock as he woke from a deep sleep, his mind slowly registering what was going on. My alarm is a kinder sound – a gentle crescendo of plinks and plonks which goes off 15 minutes later than Big’s and allows me those cherished extra minutes in bed. I stuck my fingers in my ears and whimpered while his fuggled brain worked out how to make the noise stop. When I eventually came downstairs, I did my glum face: eyes lowered, bottom lip protruding.

"I didn’t sleep very well," I glumbled.

"Oh, I slept right through for a change..." he smiled, rather too smugly for my liking.

"But don’t you remember waking up in the middle of the night? I had a mint and then we had a cuddle!"

He looked at me blankly at first, then apologetically. He’d been asleep all along.

Though I spent most of the day struggling against my body's urge to crumple onto the office floor and sleep, I kept a little smile inside: he loves me, even when he's asleep.

Of course, the photo has nothing to do with the post. But I found it rather freaky that, a few days after writing a post entitled "Duracell gym bunny", what should I find lurking in the back room of my favourite retro junk shop this Saturday?

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