Friday morning my husband’s bleep went off even though he wasn’t on call. He got up, looked at it, turned it off, and got back in bed. I looked at the clock and it read 5.45 and I toyed with the quickly fading images of my dream wondering if I could return to sleep. The sense of the dream had slipped away already and I was left with the memories. A friend, a dreamworld house with an impossible array of levels, one of my cats. Doing things to make others happy. An anxiety about not getting a thing right. I feel an unusual urge to talk about this dream anxiety now that I’m awake, as if I need reassurance.
“Never tell anyone about your dreams on a Friday,” an elderly East End lady once told me. “Least not till noon.”
“After noon it’s safe?” I asked.
“After noon you can, just not before noon. Never tell anyone your dreams from the night before a Friday or they’ll come true.”
“What if they’re good dreams?”
“They might have bad parts you don’t remember till you start telling them.”
I lay staring at the dawn moving its pale shapes across the ceiling allowing the list of Things I Had To Do Today begin to settle in the front of my mind, thinking how very bright it was for 5.45.
Because it was 6.45 and I looked at the one clock in the house that I hadn’t changed forward.
But I felt tired enough for it to be 5.45.
I pushed the duvet aside and rolled into a slumped, self-pitying sitting position. Sadly, there is a mirror right in front of me when I sit up on the side of my bed like this. A daily reminder that although I may look like I’d been to an all night party, I actually had 7ish hours of decent sleep and just think what I’d look like if I really had been to an all night party. I have a brief flicker of sadness about ageing then I decide to soldier on.
I click on autopilot and stand. Wash face and all that stuff. Apply magic lotions. Pull on jeans and oversized sweater. Go downstairs to the kitchen. Talk to the cats in a silly voice about it being their breakfast time. Turn on the coffee machine. Feed the stray cat (because keeping him close to the house means we have fewer rats than anyone else). Make the coffee.
Mmmm…! Here is where I can safely switch autopilot off.
I have made a habit of standing above the coffee machine inhaling through my nose the way someone might pause in an autumn wood on discovering how sweet the scent of cooling wood and freshly turned leaves can be. We have a machine that uses the shiny little capsules and I have scent favourites, which aren’t always the same as my flavour favourites.
I finish making the coffees, place them on a tray and carry them back upstairs where my husband is just getting out of bed.
‘Why’d your bleep go off?‘ I ask, as if it’s his fault.
How does he do that? Wake and do something then goes back to sleep without noticing? While I woke and lay in bed waking myself up further with anxiety about my dream, a list of things to do that day, a study of the dawn on the walls.
He sits up, duvet clouding around him and I hand him a coffee.
‘Mmmm… That’s nice,’ he says. I agree and let go of the irritation that I can’t talk about my dream and we sit on the warm bed sipping coffee together as the dawn moves from ceiling to walls and our day begins.
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