1 EAGLETON NOTES: A Question of Light and Time

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Tuesday, 16 September 2008

A Question of Light and Time

I wake.  I wonder what time it is.  No point lying here.  The time doesn't present itself as a thought.  I open an eye slowly.  As I do so I am blinded by a bright orange light.  I close my eye hurriedly.

This is not what I expected.  I haven't woken from a nightmare or even a dream.  So why the flash of light?  Where am I?  It is silent.  It is warm and cosy.  I'm not in France - the window would be open and I'd hear the noises of the night.  The air's different too.  I remember.  I'm in Glasgow at a friend's.

So why the bright orange light?  I open my right eye very carefully.  It's still there making other visual contact impossible.  This is becoming a game.  I've had lots of very weird and horrible dreams and nightmares recently and often the worst nightmares have occurred when I've 'known' that I was awake.  I know I'm awake now.  But this isn't a dream.  It isn't even a nightmare.  So am I awake?

I open my eye again.  Again the light enters.  The question of time remains unanswered.

I try to re-group my senses.  My watch, I remember, is on the bedside table.  The bedside table is on the other side of the bed to the one I'm facing.  I turn over and gingerly open an eye for a third or fourth time.  I don't want to be temporarily blinded again.  This time the light's gone.  No.  I realise that's not true.  The light is not bright but a soft orange glow.

And now the realisation.  There is a tiny crack between the curtains where I didn't draw them properly  Outside there is a bright orange street light.  Something that could not be further from the reality of anywhere I usually stay.

I lay there wondering how long all this has lasted and why my brain failed to analyse the issue more speedily.  Then I wonder why I'm wondering that.  So I decide to get up and make a cup of tea.

"It's a funny old world, Dad."  as Andy would have said.

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