After soaking in the bath, the steam and heat sending me to sleep, I suddenly wondered how long I'd been lying there. It also struck me as odd that the house was perfectly silent, except for the rain overflowing from a blocked gutter. Where had everyone gone? Why wasn't the TV on? No-one was talking.
After the birth of my first daughter – I was only a boy of twenty one and still sensible enough not to have given in to having a car – I rode back from the hospital with its sterile lights and central heating. I peddled away from the city and felt, felt alive as the street-lights gave way to a country lane. It started to rain and it was the night of the spring solstice. I came to an inn and the idea of beer was too good to resist. For reasons that are inexplicable, other than the need to tell someone, I said to the barman that I was on my way back from the hospital. I'd just become a father. He finished pouring the brown beer and it looked very good. 'It's on me', he said.
I got back to my caravan and slept. Fully clothed. Childbirth is an exhausting business. When I woke, after a night of my brain fizzing and crackling, again and again with the image of my daughter's face, it was still dark. I didn't know if it was morning or night.
There were no lights on over at the farmhouse.
Looking out of my window now, the house
empty and silent I wonder
whether and when
things will get going again.