If I could choose any time, I’d choose the night; I see my house through different eyes; it doesn’t spit, shout. It is a calm, quiet edifice, an empty shell. No shrill light. I go downstairs, on tiptoe, so as not to break the spell.
In the kitchen, which is where I assemble, the floor dispels daily stains, the clock tick-tocks and the fridge whirs and clicks. The oven sits like a dirty, empty lung, full of chicken fat and crumbs. The hob is all burnt rubber and fossilized food.
We are the grey product of the world; the nocturnal. Night is a strange kaleidoscope to see the world through. Rodents poke into impossible places, cats push their fat bodies through the flap. You notice how you breathe, how often you sniff, the scars and the fissures of the home and of yourself. How the house is like a body, with its machinery, it’s tick-tock clock heart.
We share a secret and this excretes an exciting mystery; I spend time with it when no one else knows, when they all sleep. When I am bored of the intimate relationship I have with my home, I wonder how many other people do this?
So now on my after-dark ventures, I ask google all the answers to the questions I wonder when the house is full of shouts and shrill light: How many people, right now, are running in a field? How many people live on bread only? How many people want to live in another country? These silly statistics, google somehow can come up with. Along with others, like why my poached eggs never work and why are some people insomniacs? The things I could not get the answers to before the internet.
Another thing I do, at night, alone, is look through a traveller’s companion for the middle East. It’s somewhere my husband has travelled round extensively. Imagine skyscrapers, wrapped up tightly in shining sweet wrappers, impossible landscapes and temples from Indiana Jones, lakes with reeds reaching up enthusiastically, as though they can’t get enough of this life. I am like a child, holding this small guide full of pictures, as though it’s a large book.
There is one thing that troubles me, though. Recently I have been getting more sleep.