Cecilia returned to her bed after receiving a drink, then proceeded to crash her bedroom door shut twice, totally indifferent to the others sleeping. The house of cards trembled, but luck remained with me, and the patients continued to snore and groan while my radar scanned the floorboards for signs of imminent eruption. I claimed my break, and laid on the stinking settee, listening to the wasps circling far above my head with the lights turned off, wondering if one of them would be sociable enough to visit me. I looked up at the ceiling ‘planetarium’, with its red flashing smoke alarm bulbs, the little green glows of the antiseptic dispensers, and the residual fluorescence of the main tubes, feeling like a long-term prisoner seeing things on a blank wall. I jumped as the hot carcass of the television cracked violently in the flow of cold air from an open window, waking me from my half sleep. And I smiled because the conditions were so perfect for not sleeping, while David talked to himself upstairs; living a nocturnal life in preference to the challenging day.


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