Tales from the Finchbottom Vale – (36) The Insomniac Muse (Part 03)
With a boot full of Stephenson’s Supermarkets finest tinned and dried goods he returned to Kingfisherbridge and didn’t really feel like stopping for tea with Mrs McEwan but she had invited him and he thought it would have been rude not to, so he pulled up outside The Villa.
As they sat in her lounge drinking from her best China, Alex related the story of his getting lost in the woods and being rescued by a young woman called Gloria.
“Oh Gloria! She’s my niece” Kate said with a mixture of pride and a little sadness “I worry about her”
“She seemed very sound when I met her” he said
“Oh she is but the poor girl is an insomniac, she hasn’t slept properly for four years or so” she said “She only ever cat naps”
“Why is that?” he asked
She was thoughtful for a moment and then she said
“I’m sorry I didn’t mean to pry” he said
“It’s ok Mr Farrell” she said “It just makes me sad”
“I understand but please call me Alex”
She nodded and went all thoughtful again before she said
“Gloria has always had a small problem with sleeping as a result of her grandmother dying in her sleep when she was 12, but she seemed to grow out of that in time” She said and then paused to take a sip of her tea.
“However when she was at University her best friend Gina suffered an embolism and died in her sleep one night.
Gloria was absolutely devastated but I think she would have come out the other side had it not been for what happened to the Newman’s”
“The Newman’s?” he asked
“Yes they were a family from Lily Green who died in a house fire”
“It happened in the early hours as they slept, five of them, it was so tragic.
Gloria knew the family very well and she had even baby sat the children.
It was the final straw for her and ever since that night Gloria has had a morbid fear of sleeping”
He had noticed her passing the Cottage a few times since he had been there, at different times of the day and night and hadn’t until that moment appreciated the reason for her wanderings.
When Alex arrived home, or at least his temporary home he reflected on how candid Kate had been about her niece, after all she could just have said she suffered from insomnia and left it at that.
But he supposed not being honest might have failed to explain her irregular hours and her habit of walking the woods at all hours of the day and night.
He could relate to that in some ways as he himself was prone to keeping irregular hours.
But he was pleased Kate had told him everything, as a writer he was naturally nosy but there was something about Gloria that struck a chord with him.
Alex continued to see Gloria walking the lane or one of the many woodland paths but she never stopped to talk although she did occasionally wave.
In one of his many blocked moments he wondered what on earth she did with herself.
To his mind there had to be more to her life than walking the woods.