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The deepest of sleeps. My face is buried in the warm softness of my pillow and my mind is far, far away. Dreaming.

I wake before I hear it. The gentle buzz of the vibration on my phone is enough to stir me from the depths of my fuzz. I reach quickly for the phone before it goes off and rouses the rest of the house. Experience has taught me this.

I roll over, instantly irritated by my snoring husband, fast asleep next to me. Huffing and puffing I pad to the bathroom, avoiding the creaky floorboards on the way. I tiptoe past the toddler’s lair, desperate not to wake her as I brush my teeth and wash my face.

I look dead.

No time for a shower this morning. Sprinkling water under my arms and rubbing vigorously in an attempt at waking up, I shiver into my underwear and pull on the warmest jumper I can find in the pitch black of the bedroom.

Socks go on – probably odd ones – but the shoes I carry in my hand as I haul my limbs over the stair gate. I can’t open it in case I wake my toddler dragon, snoozing a few feet away from me.

I get down the stairs on my backside. I’ve long since learned this is the only way I can guarantee not to set off a musical symphony on the tired floorboards.

It’s 4am.

Feeling along the walls in the black of the alcove I fumble to close the door to the stairs before flicking the light switch. I can’t risk any light seeping into my child’s room. Light is like noise – not conducive to sleep.

Sitting on the frozen tiles in the kitchen, I finally pull on my shoes and scrape a brush through my hair. Tutting (no one is happy at this hour, surely?) I sweep some breadcrumbs off the sideboard and into the sink, muttering to myself about my husband’s inability to tidy up “properly”.

The ice outside glimmers on my car windscreen, taunting me. I clench my teeth and pull on my coat, catching a thread and trying not to swear too loudly. Pocketing my car keys I rummage through my bag for my house keys and delicately remove them, careful not to jangle them noisily.

And then I’m gone. Out into the night.

But not before I’ve turned the light off inside and the security light on outside. Peering through the pane of glass at our back door, I check to make sure there are no burglars in the garden or rats by the bins.

I don’t like burglars. Or rats. And my inner child tells me these are both things to dread when the rest of the world sleeps.

It’s 4.20am.

Time to go to work.