Not Sleeping

Are you sleeping? the physio asked me last week. Yes, I said. That’s good, she said. I’ve rarely had a problem with sleep. I need so much. I just fall into it. And earlier and earlier these days. The only issue is when I am woken, usually by work calling or texting me, then sleep evades me. My mind begins its infernal planning and oblivion is lost to me. He isn’t sleeping, at least not at night. He looks worn through, blown through, thinner and thinner. How can I leave him? I feel the weight of him. He is trying to manage to not get angry or self-pitying, I can see that he is trying. But I can also see how hard it is. I try to encourage him to eat, making tiny morsels of delights to excite his palate. He never wants it initially, hovering around me by the stove, saying: not too much, not too much. I remember his mother being just the same. But for her it was the war-time residue of a fear of waste. Those countless women who still wrap left-overs in tin foil leaving them in fridges to fester and grow mouldy. He just can’t bear to be over-faced with a big plate of food. I am the same. He is also eschewing tastes he used to like. No¬†more sugar on his cornflakes and HP sauce with his beans on toast. My tastes have changed too since the virus we both had. I don’t want salads anymore, or indeed raw food. I struggle to come up with things to eat. I am all at sea with his food and mine.

I’d had a call yesterday saying that I may need to go up to work at 4.30 am, thankfully, I didn’t. But I had to wait until I was texted to be assured. Yet I still have to go in about 40 minutes. Will that hill get easier the more I do it? He has gone back to bed to try and catch up, it is all topsy-turvy. I am hanging¬†on by my finger nails. Yesterday was so gloomy. I had a massage with the Brute. It hurts but it does help. We talked of Scandinavian matters. I like her brusqueness. I asked if she was going to go home to Sweden soon. I’ve got puppies, she said, I will go in April when they are sold. What breed? I asked. Siberian Husky, she said.

Everyone is a flutter with the threat of snow. The Brute said she missed it. That it helped with the darkness. I might drive to go and find some, she said.

By Ellen Bell

Artist and writer currently living in Aberystwyth.