I picked up my clock. Three ten.

Writing prompts this week courtesy of Maggie O’Farrell’s My Lover’s Lover – my book of the month reviewed in my September 2023 newsletter.

Keeping the child theme going, as this is the last week before the close of the local young people’s short story competition I’m involved in.

That parenting stage of exhaustion had set in. Two months after Daisy’s birth, he had returned to work, futilely hiding his glee at the daily escape. I understood. Adults might be just as irrational as babies, but mostly they don’t cry for hours on end and if they do, you can ignore them. Unlike the tiny mite you’d recently given birth to and whose crying first breaks your heart and then your mind.

Don’t feed her so often, my friend with two motherhood trophies told me.

Feed her a little, but often, another advised.

Walk around with her, they like that.

Yes, she did like that. We walked for hours daily, while washing, preparing meals, dirty bathrooms and dusty furniture went ignored. The fridge, however, was stuffed to bursting as our daily walks took us past the local shops where the greengrocer’s wife insisted on cooing and touching and exclaiming what an angel this babe was, sleeping so peacefully against my chest.

Until the chest was removed and replaced with a non-beating mattress.

I had finally got Daisy to settle near midnight and fell into my bed beside my gentle snoring other half, slipping into unconsciousness before I was fully prone.

Now my eyes opened, bleary, my head a ball of cotton fluff. I groaned, waiting for the whimpers which would escalate until the mouth was otherwise occupied.


I picked up my clock. Three ten. About the time she would be demanding more food.

Still silence.

And now my heart thudded with visceral fear. Fully awake, I threw back the duvet and slid out of bed, running, running, out the door, three paces along the landing, into Daisy’s room.

A sliver of moonlight had found the edge of the curtain and had come exploring. I peered into the cot, hand raised, fearing what I might touch. The moonlight played on Daisy’s angelic face, lit up the veins in her rounded eyelids, silvered her bow lips – which puckered, sucked. A frown furrowed her silky brow. She sighed, and returned to sleep.

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2 thoughts on “I picked up my clock. Three ten.”

  1. We all remember those days (LOL).

    My contribution:

    I tossed and turned, knowing it was only the early hours of the morning.
    Why couldn’t I sleep? Was it the excitement of the new business deal I had been working on with my colleague, Patricia, hoping that it would all go according to plan at tomorrow’s presentation.
    I picked up my clock. God, only 3.10am. Surely, I could get back to sleep. Just needed to relax. Close my eyes. Count sheep…one…two…three…no good, wasn’t working.
    Eyes wide open now, I went over the presentation in my head, hoping we hadn’t forgotten anything.
    It could make or break our company – that’s how important it was. The difference between a bit- part market player and being listed as a major corporation on the stock exchange.
    Patricia and I had spent months formulating a plan to win the deal – a joint venture with one of the biggest entities in the country – and sleep had been at a premium.
    Now, here I was, at the eleventh hour and so restless that I knew by later that morning I would look like a drowned rat.
    Good lord, just switch off your brain for a while. Maybe, if I get up and grab a drink, that might help.
    No. I’d read somewhere alcohol never helps when you are under stress, especially during the early hours.
    Come on, man. Pull yourself together. You’ve slept every other night – even though it was invariably after midnight before you fell into bed, exhausted.
    Another look at the clock – 3.30. Only 20 minutes had elapsed. Going to be a long night if this keeps up.
    Oh, blow it. Can’t seem to sleep, anyway. May as well get up and make a cup of tea.

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