Once upon an age ago, 2am signalled the end of the night at my local grotty rock club. It was a proper rock club, all sticky floors, clumsily painted black interior, and snake bite and black for a few quid a pint. In that place and that time, we felt immortal as we thrashed around, a great throng of anguish in the mosh pit, all of one mind and one purpose-to release the week’s pent up angst by thumping against one another like rutting stags.
Testosterone and body odour scented the air and camaraderie could be yours simply by singing loudly and performing some serious air guitar with whomever was next to you on the dancefloor (not much dancing took place though, not in the traditional sense anyway), and we lapped it up, we lived for it.
But once the predictable floor fillers tailed off, culminating in the aptly named ‘Epic’ by Faith No More, and the house lights shone stark into our blinking eyes, 2am signalled a return to the drudgery of another crappy week after the inevitable hang-over the following day.
These days 2am signals my girl’s hour of misery. She will not settle, thrashing around as if in homage to my halcyon days in the rock club and flinging herself off her flathead-correcting pillow, eyes rolling back into her skull like a prelude to her head spinning and projectile vomiting green bile across the room.
We do our dance. I stroke her head, she arches her back. I apply gentle pressure to her chest-a reassuring hand and she bucks her legs. This goes on until she has wearied her little body and finally gives in to sleep. She sleeps fitfully and I go back to bed and stare fearfully at the monitor, daring her to go another round like an echo of the mosh pits of my youth.
And so, another 2am passes sleeplessly and I long for another sticky angst fuelled night to relieve the frustration of being a new mother.
It all sounds so very romantic and decadent, but really all I want to do is go and get shit-faced with my bestie while listening to Black Sabbath and put the world to rights.
However, it’s not as bleak as I’m making it out to be. You see all I’ve really done is swap one kind of thrill for another. Instead of looking at 2am as a time for leaving the club and getting a dirty burger it’s now the time where I share the quiet of the night with my most precious treasure. It’s private time, just for us, and as she feeds from me with her industrial-grade suction I get to gaze at every contour of her sleepy face. I try to take ‘mental photographs’ so that for years and decades to come I can recall these times to remind myself of the closeness we fostered in these early months.
Before she was born there was an emptiness that I couldn’t quite name. I always wanted children, I just didn’t realise that the lack of them was causing the void. Because I didn’t know what caused it I tried to fill it with superficial things. Rich food, sweets, crisps, shopping and altogether too much alcohol. It was only when she was born that I felt appeased. Of course, the emotions upon her arrival were far too complex and profound to simply be called appeasement, but for the first time as an adult I truly felt complete.
So, although a night at a rock club getting smashed is something I still want to do, it’s to reminisce and dance rather than to forget my dreaded working week ahead. My job for the week ahead is to be a mother, and right now, I can’t imagine anything else I’d rather do.
Image by Nadine Holland