• natalienuttall

Night terrors

I am jolted from shallow sleep in the inky hours - 2, maybe 3am?

Her cries are defiant and confused,

The anger of a four-year-old being a special kind of irate.

I feel the resistance flashing through my thoughts and prickling at my skin,

A humble night light casts a looming shadow on her wall - an amplified version of mummy that only serves to both frighten and enrage her more.

I utter calm reassurances as she thrashes out and demands me to "Leave ..But don't go!"

Contradictions are rife in the night - thoughts rush through at breakneck speed and reality is blurred at the edges.

I sit, shoulders slumped, counting the possible hours left of sleep,

like tiny grains of sand slipping away into the thick darkness.

We are caught in this indefinable hinterland as time doubles back on itself.

And just as my frustration is rising, barely masked by the low tones,

she reaches out to me, arms outstretched

and in an unexpected twist of choreography

We embrace.

Relief washes over us,

She relents and slowly lowers her head to the yielding pillow,

Eyes bright, holding my gaze, smiling sweetly in quiet reverie.

All resistance dissolves,

My heart expands and only love remains.

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