I’ve always been a night owl.
I can be tired at seven but by the time ten comes around I’ve got my second wind. The night has frequency all its own, some of us are attuned to it, others are not.
Linda is not.
I have never known anyone fall asleep so quickly or wake up so completely and immediately. At ten she shuts down with soft purr, at six she starts up with a surge of static and a determined whirring, ready for work. An early bird.
Still, look at the worm she’s caught.
I run on a cycle of my own. Three or four days of shambling insomnia followed by twelve-fourteen hours of total blackout.
A few weeks ago, around three in the morning I decided to get up and go for a walk around the block. We live in a quiet residential area, Zone 2. I slipped out of the bedroom, put my trainers on in the hall, double-checked I had my keys.
I’m not sure precisely why that night I decided to leave my home. It was uncharacteristic of me.
That is the extent of my defence.
The moment I clicked the front door closed a complex thrill, more like a moment of recognition shuddered through me. I listened into the silence.
Night is a vast conspiracy.
I set off with the intention of walking down onto the main road, following it along until the petrol station, looping round through the flats, coming back along the side of the railway line home.
I have no clear recollection of having taken the knife from the kitchen. If I did so then it was simply a precautionary measure.
The main road was deserted, not a single car went past during the eleven minutes it took me to stroll to the main junction at Sandrock road, cut across the Petrol station’s forecourt to begin my journey back to the house.
A car pulled in sharply as I was exiting, the wing mirror clipping my right hand. The car was red, but in my memory it is blue. This is where, moments later, what is being referred as “the altercation” took place.
On the CCTV footage they have shown me I find it hard to connect myself to the blurred, lumbering figure in his jogging pants and hooded top. That is not my walk, those are not my limbs, that, surely, is not my face.
Yet they insist on the fact it is, and what choice do I have but to believe them?