Awake. Just like that. Like being clipped upside the head with a wet fish. Not the sort of slip-back-to-sleep-in-a-minute awake. Awake. Like the difference between a ring-binder being open and closed, with very nearly the same audible click.
The colour of the light on the wall says it’s way too early for this. My whole body hurts. When I finally summon the strength to claw my phone off the table, it confirms the bad news. This was supposed to be the epic catch-up sleep to end all sleeps. Instead it has clocked in at a bit under four hours.
But there’s no fighting it. I lie there and hope for another hour, but eventually abandon it. There’s nothing for it but to go and prepare early. My clothes are still damp from the long walk last night, and when I slip out the front door, it’s still raining. These have been the only two constants of my world for as long as I can remember – falling water, and the lack of real sleep.
I am on the New South Wales Central Coast, and this rain has followed me all the way from Brazil. It has been weeks since it was dry. The last time was the night I left Belo Horizonte, a city in the central hills. It was hot that night, tropical, and the walk to the station left us wet with sweat. Auria cried as I got on the bus to Rio, tears mixing with the perspiration. And as we pulled out onto the road, her silhouette in the stairwell growing smaller and smaller, it started to rain. Not hard, but with a sad persistent beat on the windows. Read more.