Porkpie Hat – The Waking

So there you are, waking up in the middle of the night. There is moonlight leaking in through the curtains, and ghosts grumbling inside the pipes. You lie there for a while, and think that something is different.

Gradually, you become aware of what it is: you have no pain in your back or in your legs. Your joints are not aching the way they usually do. You feel as though you are a much younger, much lighter version of yourself?nearly weightless.

Slowly, you become aware of other changes, too. For one thing, you are no longer afraid. You are no longer afraid of murderers lurking outside your back door. You are no longer afraid of faulty furnaces or Looming World Financial Crises, of blood clots in your cerebellum or mercury in your tuna. You feel as though you might live forever, but if you happened to die in the next five minutes, that would probably be okay, too.

The feeling of being without fear or pain is so strange. For a moment, you wonder if your fear of faulty furnaces was not irrational after all. You wonder if your old bogeyman, Carbon Monoxide, has crept in on Ninja-soft feet, carried you off in your sleep.

But, surely, ghosts don’t have an appetite. You feel as though you could eat French Toast and Black Cherry jam. You could eat beets and carrots pulled straight from the garden, their roots still covered in soil. You could eat Hot Buttered Clouds washed down with a glass of Ice Cold Rain.

And, surely, dead people don’t have hearing. You can hear the whirr of a leaf spiralling through the air. You can hear the heartbeat of your cat asleep on the back of the living room couch. You can hear the engines of an icebreaker on the edge of the Arctic Circle. You can hear an old musician playing ?Clair de Lune? on his clarinet in a New Orleans tenement.

?I have never,? you think, ?been so alive.?

And it occurs to you that, if you leave this bed right now to walk abroad in the night, you will be inundated with wonders. If you walk out through your front door, there will be Comets and Violins. There will be Woodsmoke on the Breeze, and Laughter in the Woods, and All Manner of Unimaginable Coincidences.

?I should get up,? you think. ?I should get up, I should get up, I should get up.?

But you don’t. You don’t, because if you get up right now, then you will be tired in the morning. You don’t, because there is so much to be done today; you need your rest. Maybe some other time.

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