I wake with a thud in my guts, and flip through the pages of a brain dull with sleep: parents, fine, son, fine as far as I know, husband, not quite fine, but I’m fine with that. I roll over and try to catch the picture now melting away; spilling across the road and dripping into the drain. I reach out and grab what I can: an angry baby in a high chair wearing a grubby nappy, a handful of £5 notes lying on the table, another adult who can’t be seen and, in the distance, a wail of anguish. I think that we are trying to flee something or someone, and I am in that controlled panic that lingers into wakefulness. With a thudding chest I shut my eyes and try to gather back the warm covering of sleep, but it too has slipped away. And a blade of sunlight cuts through the dark, returning day into the room.
I close dry, tired eyes and move blindly towards a wall of bare back, nuzzling, seeking comfort, and find none.