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Ian D Gilmour

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Insomnia
By Ian D Gilmour
Sunday, April 27, 2008

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A snippet from a longer piece in progress.

The first light of the day was always welcome to Blake. He would often sit in the window of his flat looking down on the street to watch the dog walkers and joggers start their day. He would sit with a hot chocolate or herbal tea cupped in his hands, enjoying that brief moment of light catching silence. His day was finally over and he knew that soon he would be able to crawl into bed to drift off to the morning radio.

Blake hadn't been awake for an entire morning for about six months now so sleep at that time was expected. He hadn't been to sleep before two in the morning for about five years. He spent his night channel surfing, reading, playing guitar, writing, eating and wandering from room to room. He would gaze at his bookshelves or CD collection aimlessly. He would change clothes more than once. He would stare out the window into the dark of the sky or the floodlit street below. He would take a walk around the block but not for long. It was usually to the local service station to get the first edition of the paper at about three in the morning. Sometimes he would read it at the station with a machine coffee. Most of the time he was in his flat, on his own, in his unique world.

He was a musician by trade, playing guitar in a number of local bars and restaurants for a few hours most nights. He had played in rock bands when he was younger and had learned to live at night. Now he had no choice it seemed. He started to think that he preferred it. It was time to himself and his mind seemed to need the solitude that the night provided. To go to bed at a normal hour felt strange. He tried to many years ago and woke up after an hour feeling displaced. Other times he had just lay there and felt no chance of sleep coming on.

The night-life would be fine if he could concentrate for long enough to get something done. He hardly ever saw a movie or TV programme all the way through. He would only read for twenty minutes at a time before getting up to make a sandwich or just to wander around the flat.

There had been a time when he tried doing some editing for a small publishing company. They would give him work at the end of business and he would work on it overnight. This went well for about two weeks until the motivation waned and he failed to complete work on several occasions. They stopped ringing with the work and he didn't ring to ask for it.

There was a community involved in the small hours of the morning on the High. Blake grew to expect the street sweepers and their orange flashing lights at a certain time each week. There was the milk truck at four-thirty every morning and the Press van delivering papers about five-thirty. A bakery opened its doors to start work at five-fifteen six days a week.

Occasionally Blake would see Speedy wandering aimlessly down the street in the early morning light. He was the last person that he expected to be an early riser.

Blake's day might start again about two in the afternoon. He would drop into the Chalice after crawling out of bed and order a large coffee to start what was left of the day. Between then and about six he was just another person on the High. He was up at a normal hour with normal people doing and seeing normal things. Nobody knew about his special arrangements with the night. The people who saw him everyday probably thought he was working in the mornings. He wasn't close enough to anyone to confide details. Some had seen him playing in the cafés and his often unshaven, dark glasses look gave him the bohemian image that made him fit in with the rest of the street.

 


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