I have a love/hate relationship with sleep. On the one hand, there is little nicer than being in a warm bed and drifting gently off to sleep. On the other, insomnia runs in my family, and there’s little worse than tossing and turning and not being able to fall asleep. I like to stay up late more than McIrish, but in the interest of marital harmony, we go to bed around the same time—10:30, more or less. But when he’s not home, I often stay up till midnight, or, if it’s not a school night, even later. This is when I enjoy watching movies the most—the kids are in bed, the house is quiet, no one will call me. I usually watch something no one else likes: Game of Thrones is my current favorite show, and it’s too violent for the kids, and too complicated for McIrish. (Don’t tell him I said so, but he was driving me crazy, asking, “Who’s that again?” or “Wait…I thought he was dead.”) Food tastes better after 11 p.m., I’ve found—the thrill of the illicit snack.
I often think more clearly about my characters in this time; the secret time, I call it, when everyone else is asnooze in their beds. Sometimes I picture them, like myself, awake when the rest of the world is quiet. What’s their house like? What PJs are they wearing? What shows would they be watching? It’s an honest time; hard to be anyone but your truest self when no one else is around, when you have no reason for being awake other than the fact that you just don’t want to go to bed right now.