Early in the morning

As usual, I cannot sleep. Around half past five, I give up and make tea. I decide that I can clean and polish the kitchen, to satisfy inner urges to carry out rituals before the day has really started. I feel some anxiety that this will mean sweeping rather than hoovering as my reassurance that my compulsive behaviours are totally under control may be undermined by the sound of a Dyson Animal at 6.00am. The cats are somewhat unnerved by my early presence, sensing a trick, but they relax when breakfast is served. I sit in the garden with tea. The sky is a faultless blue without a breath of wind. The only sound is birdsong, harshened by an occasional seagull. Later I will go and buy fresh croissants for breakfast and serve them in a clean and tidy kitchen.

Fuchsia and Willow, two of our cats chase about like kittens. I forget that the sound of spray cleaner alarms them. They chase the mop as I clean, pouncing on it as if it is a rodent on the loose and it makes me laugh. I look at my new white linen suit, ready for J’s speech day on his last day at school, where he will collect three prizes – for Woodwind, French and a Head’s commendation. My insides bubble with excitement. Afterwards, we will have a picnic on the school lawns and drive home in my mum’s convertible car, which we are never, ever to call a ‘cougar’ car.

L returned home from her prom at midnight, excited and happy, to find C asleep on the sofa and me bleary eyed awoken by the doorbell. In my usual ‘mother of anorexic’ mode I hug her, ask if she had a good time and then has she had her snack. She laughs at me and tells me it is ten past twelve. I decide anorexia can wait until morning. I will buy her special almond croissants for breakfast. Perhaps we will eat them in the garden. It is going to be a good weekend.

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