His Girl Friday

Comme elle était trés lourde, ils la portaient alternativement
– Gustave Flaubert, “Hérodias”

You want it always to be night, and always to be winter. Why? It’s comforting to look out on the dark, see the streetlights burning on bare walls and pavements, feel liberated from the pressure of crowds. Then again, it’s good to wrap up warmly against the cold, feel insulated, wrapped in endless layers of padding. You never want to feel the sun again.

The insomniac is the total loner. As the hours go by, companions, activities, distractions, occupations all drop off, leaving him face to face – or her, for that matter – with whatever’s waiting out there in the darkness.

Tonight you woke up with a start to see a strange face floating beside your bed – but the room was strange as well. She, too, appeared to have mistaken her way. She was pale, with a frieze of straw-blonde hair. You closed your eyes. When you opened them again, she’d vanished.

Which leads you (of course) to question whether she was ever there at all. Probably not. In any case, whatever she was, strayed reveller, hallucination, fever dream, ghost, manuka goddess, muse, she has – it seems – removed your only chance of sleep.

Time to get up again and shuffle the cards for inspiration …


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