A Mused

It is 10:25 at night. The house is a dark, quiet box, the only light is the one that casts cutting white lines against my desk. It’s one of those lamps with the singular stark circle of energy that doesn’t so much glow as point. Points across my lap, shatters against the wall, gestures at the darkness as if to say, “It’s really late for this. You should go to bed.”

This is the magic hour. This is when I find my words. This is when, as my husband goes to sleep and the mice are quietly playing in the dining room and I am blissfully alone, my muse steals into across the floor, prowling, lurking, coming up over my shoulder. Hello, love. I hope you weren’t going to slip away to sleep without even acknowledging me.

I can’t do this. I’m about to take my headphones off but I stop just short. Just listen to this one more song. I promise, after that, I’ll leave you alone. You’ll like it…

It’s piano music, a speedy, upbeat tempo that’s faintly reminiscent of a song I’ve heard before. Now, now, when beyond this heavy headset is the squeaking of a wheel, the plinking of a sink, the hum of my mate’s breaths, this is when I choose to listen. I normally need lyrics, something to sing to. But my fingers are doing the talking.

You don’t get it. I need to be up in the morning. I have a job, damn you.

I’m more important.

I can’t argue. That’s the worst part. All I can keep doing is typing, glancing back every now and then to the man in the bed behind me. He’ll hear…

He won’t. He’s snoring. You can just make it out over the sound of sweet-talking in your head.

I raise my hands and let them fall on the keys in an angry clatter. For just a second I freeze, afraid I’ve been discovered by my frustrations. But no. I am, for the most part, alone. Why couldn’t you have come sooner? If the thought were spoken, it might be sobbed.

Is it my fault that this is when you make time for me?

True. It’s true.

I’m going to be tired in the morning.

Aren’t I worth it?

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