I wake up with my heart pumping so hard and my eyes so wide with fear that sleep is a physical impossibility. It means that I get a lot of work done before most people are even contemplating breakfast, but I crash out through the afternoon. Until about the age of 11, I would wake my mum up at least once a night, usually twice. But for a few years, it passed. Now I find myself so terrified of my room, the sound of cars and the water pipes gurgling, that the only thing that lulls me to sleep is the flicker of a video in the background. However, most films have one or two scary scenes, so most films are out. I can pretty much only sleep to The Breakfast Club, Funny Face and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Technology is truly the modern comforter. Unfortunately, the comfort only lasts as long as the video, so every two hours I have to get up and rewind the tape. All week, I've felt like I was losing it. After four days of virtual non-sleep, I found myself eating late one evening in a Soho restaurant, desperate not to go to bed. A friend of Steve's walked in with a mate and started chatting and asking if I wanted to come and sit with them. I've always wanted to have a proper conversation with this guy, but my brain was so fuzzy that I could hardly get the words out of my mouth, except to stutter, "Thank you. But I think it would be better if you just went back and sat down." I felt like Michael Jackson in the Thriller video: "Please, you have to leave now, for your own safety. I'm about to turn into a werewolf."
I went back to the flat and waited for Grace to get home, listening to "Boys of Summer" by Don Henley, over and over again, convinced that he was singing, "I can't tell you my love for you will still be strong after the boys of summer have gone..." instead of "I can tell you..."
Grace is on holiday now and I'm not doing a great job of coping. At 4.15am, after a pleasant Saturday night out with the girls, I woke to find myself fearful of my fuzzy felt toy dragon. His tail seemed to be moving. I rang the girls, who answered the phone wearily but sympathetically after 16 rings, and told me to come round. They fixed me tea, put me in a spare bed, and we sat up and giggled all night.
The next day, I went home to see my mum. I was walking up the street, muttering "Oh, my God" and slapping my forehead with my hand, which is what always happens when I think about sex too much, when I heard someone call my name. It was a school friend's mother, pulling alongside me in her silver car. I tried quickly to compose myself. Not only is she the sweetest woman on earth, but she also looks like Stephane Audran. All you need to do is go out looking your absolute worst, and you are guaranteed to run into her. She gave me a lift while I tried to look like someone who hadn't just been talking to themselves in the street.
That night, I slept in my old bed. The sheets smelt of freshly laundered bunny rabbits and dog-eared posters of Liam gazed reassuringly down on me. I slept perfectly, not stirring for a second between 11pm and 10.30am the next day. This is all very well and good, but now I am becoming a little worried that the only way to cure my insomnia is to move back home. I talked about the nightmares with mum and she relayed a Fay Weldon quote about why children are afraid of the dark. "It's because they feel guilty. They know how bad they are." So for a sweet night's sleep, all I have to do is become a better person. Yeah, right. I can't wait to see what videos they're going to play on MTV at 4.15 tomorrow morning.Reuse content