Giant moon and Midnight Tea
Giant Moon and Midnight Tea
Tiptoeing through the night, through my silent house, as quiet as a mouse, the soft carpet tickling my toes, I head for the kitchen eager for a midnight cuppa. Now that my boob-hungry newborn Daisy has finally nodded off. I delight in my solitary tea-drinking moment and pad quickly across the hall, as nimble as a ninja, trying not to make a sound, icy-tiles almost sticking to my feet. I step on squeaky rabbit-toy that echoes a sinister laugh, disturbing my me-time .
I kick 'said' squeaky toy at the wall and stub my toe in the process. I hop about like a mad woman clutching at my toe and I count... one, two, three, waiting for her cry as she searches the dark room for my warmth. By some form of a miracle I don't hear a peep and I reach the for air in a triumphant punch.
I close the door extra carefully, making sure it doesn't bang. I switch the kettle on and rub the chill from my bare arms and do an on-the-spot run while the kettle rumbles to a boil. Tea bag in, teaspoon clinked, milk poured, ah marvellous. The taste is as good as champagne on a birthday and the smell of tea is comforting as my Nans bread pudding after a break up. It's the only time of the day, or night, I can drink my cuppa alone. My stolen midnight-moment. Daisy – love her – consumes my every waking hour. But midnight belongs to me.
I make my into the cool conservatory and grab a fleece blanket off the back of the armchair. It smells faintly of baby sick. I look at it with my head cocked to one side as I smooth my hand across cool cotton of my settee and maybe selfishly think – no, not now, I will think of nothing but me. And I toss the blanket away in favour of an old coat that is woollen and itchy. The moon is full and clear and perfectly round and shines across the garden creating a high shadows from the privet hedge. It looks so beautiful. I feel as if I am the only person in the world awake, until I see the light come on in next doors bathroom and hear his chain flush. Hands washed, light off, back to bed he goes. Again I sit in midnight blue under a glittery star filled sky, a shooting star brings a wide smile across my cold face and I shut my eyes tight making a wish. See, even in my moment she appears in the form of a wish. Health, always, for my daughter.
I'm ravished, breastfeeding has given me an insatiable appetite and I just have to have a digestive or maybe a shortbread. Mmm, licking my lips at the thought I open the door and again on tip toes wincing at the cold I hurry across the floor and to cupboard where the cookie jar lives. A dilemma strikes. The door is the squeaky door with a loose hinge and a clunk that has been on a list of (promise I’ll do it, but never gets done). I ponder is the biscuit worth the risk? Yes! I pull at the tea towel hanging over the oven door . I press it against the hinge as I pull it gently squeezing my eyes shut as it comes open, I catch it before it drops to a clunk. Bingo, I'm in! I slide out the biscuit jar and prize open the lid.
I find a meagre amount crumbs and half a malted milk. Now I am mad and want to wake up my husband from his undisturbed soft snores and make him go to all night Tesco and buy me more. I pull my mouth to the side while I contemplate. No it will wake Daisy, so I make a sandwich with butter and strawberry jam with the last two slices of bread. No toast for hubby then. And I smile, a childish satisfied smile. Now I feel sleepy but I don’t want to give up my time to sleep. I long for sleep most of the time but this hour, I can sit in silence at watch the moon and the hedgehog that scuttles around and the fox that saunters across my grass. I wouldn’t miss it.
My skin is littered with goosebumps and my mug of tea has left a circle on my knee and crumbs have settled inside my front fastening bra. I flick them away and place the mug on the floor. I close my eyes for just a second and sink back into the soft velvet. I can hear my breathing growing deeper, I hear myself start to snore ever so gently like a purring cat and my eyes shoot open, wider that that full moon that is lighting up my garden.
My mind directs me to the night Daisy was born, a night just like this, moon out, stars in abundance, no ambulance in sight , in a tent on a chilly summer night, she was impatient to be born. We weren't ready for her. She was having none of it. I thought the dodgy chicken we ate at the local pub was to blame , I thought she was indigestion, seven and a half months, still plenty of time. She had other ideas, I rememberer feeling calm, I remember my husband running around the tents in circles shouting
“SHIT, SHIT, SHIT!”
I recall giving him clear instructions while he nodded his head.
“Go to the reception, bang the door loudly until someone answers and call an ambulance, bring towels and hot water.”
I heard this somewhere. We had no reception on our phones, we were very remote. I was poker-hot and the pains shot from my back in waves and I needed to be outside. I took our sleeping bags and crawled onto them, under a full moon. He was too late, he came back to me and Daisy both elated, she didn't even cry. I remember his tears and my joy and our bliss. Daisy the opposite of a moonlit night, she reminded us of spring sunshine. The ambulance arrived and we were bundled in and spent our holiday in hospital, the best holiday we ever had.
I can't sleep, what if Daisy cries and don’t hear her? See she is still here in my hour. She will always be here, I can't shut her out. Maybe I don’t really want to. Maybe even if she were sat on my lap, as warm as a lazy cat with breath that smells of sweat peas, all bundled in white blankets with curious eyes and silk-soft skin. Maybe I wouldn’t be so cold and maybe I could tell her all about the milky moon and the stars that decorate the sky with their twinkles and the hedgehog that enjoys milk from a saucer and the fox that enjoyed last nights chicken and the hedge that looks just like the shadow of a moving train.
Maybe I would enjoy telling her this. Maybe it's time to not be alone any more, I have a daughter, another me. It's time to share. I suddenly want her to wake up. I suddenly feel very selfish, I panic, I haven’t heard her on the monitor. I rush up the stairs now, two at a time not caring how noisy I am, and I fling open her door, she's OK! I sit in the rocking chair next to her. Her eyes are looking around the room, her feet kicking around and she gurgles a soft noise from her warm cot. I grin at her, she is awake, wide awake, maybe she didn’t want to disturb me. Maybe she knows about my midnight tea. I lift her up and cuddle her in tight and breath her smell and decide it's time to take her and introduce her to my hedge hog and my giant moon and my fox. I'm sure she will love them too.