Oh, darlings, but the Empress is tired. So tired. This evening I lay down with weak but salutory gin and tonic at 8 and fell deeply asleep, waking myself laughing half an hour later at the ridiculousness of my dream. I knew I ought to write it down, it related to some kind of animal (? or person?) called Didier Calypso (or was it Didier Castor? I have a doubt, suddenly), but then I drifted back to sleep only to resurface when Fingers' insistent requests to be put to bed finally penetrated the fug. By that time Didier was sadly forgotten.
Trauma is so tiring. I am not being flippant. My whole being seems to sag with exhaustion when something impenetrably difficult, or sad, or disastrous arises. 'Too hard' says something deep in my being. 'Now sleep'. The something deep in my being has a guttural Russian accent and tends to eschew prepositions and articles and other non-essential parts of speech. It knows what it wants though. It wants oblivion.
On the day my mum died, we packed up the car and our 18 month old baby and headed straight up the M1 to York. I remember dithering around for a couple of hours wondering what to do and if it was the right thing, but once we got there I couldn't believe I had ever had any doubt. Of course we had to come. But I remember with indelible certainty the physical sensation of total exhaustion that hit me as we reached somewhere around Nottingham and the initial adrenalin of sorting out logistics hit. I was bone achingly exhausted suddenly - exhausted for everything I knew was still to come. The road ahead seemed impossibly hard and unnavigable and I couldn't imagine how I would ever dredge up the energy to get along it. That feeling of exhaustion lasted for about a week, I recall. The exhaustion would hit me across the back of the head like a sandbag, and I would have to crawl away to the attic to lie terribly still with the World Service on in the background to lull me, eventually, to patches of sleep. I would have to walk away from relatives, friends, the CFO, at the most painful and important moments, sleepwalk up the stairs and lie down. Admittedly I was also 6 months pregnant at the time, but I don't think that was it, principally. It was my body rebelling against everything it would have to go through in the weeks and months to come.
Eventually, through the power of Yorkshire Tea and fondant fancies, ginger biscuits, inappropriate laughter and expensive clothes, my body rallied. Some other force took over and carried me through all the events of the next six months and beyond, and they were quite some events, believe me.
And here I am again, and the 'Sleep now' voice is insistently bullying me to lie down, to curl up, to give up. On a bench, in bed, in the park, anywhere is good for me to shut my eyes and zone out. It's irresistible. I simply have to sleep, because whatever lies ahead will be long and hard. One of my favourite correspondents of recent days (oh, ok, it's M. It's always M, she's my brain twin) described it as "trudging through a six foot pit of shit". It sounds about right.
So it's barely ten in the evening, it's still light outside, I've already slept for half an hour, but I simply can't keep my eyes open a moment longer.