You know how it feels to hit the snooze button and pull up the covers and nestle back into the pillow and snuggle down for ten more minutes?
Kylie Schnabel didn’t.
Look at her now – awake before the alarm, straight and stiff under the doona in her sensible pyjamas with her hands folded on her chest like a dead Egyptian queen. She didn’t need to check the app on her phone, connected by invisible waves to the Fitbit on her wrist, to know last night’s sleep score. She felt rested. Relatively speaking. Yet no matter how poorly she slept – and some nights she tossed and turned doggedly, repeatedly, as though training for the World Nocturnal Tossing and Turning Championships – she always dragged her creaking limbs upright on time. She never succumbed to the snooze button.
This was because she was practised at the art of not sleeping. Her bed hadn’t been a place of comfort since she was twelve, so what difference would ten more minutes make? Oh, some nights were fine. For a long while, her sleep seemed to be getting better.
Over the last year though, sleep had become harder and harder for Kylie to reach, a floating balloon bobbing overhead with a dangling string. And what had she done about it? Absolutely nothing. As a pharmacist, Kylie had any number of effective and safe over-the-counter insomnia remedies at her disposal that she recommended to customers suffering from her exact problem, but she refused to resort to pills herself. They were fine for other people, but for her they seemed like a crutch, like a moral failing.
Kylie was a woman of science with no time for either superstition or folk wisdom. She did not avoid ladders or black cats, she did not knock on wood. Picking up a coin in the street was lucky in itself but would not change the trajectory of her day.
She certainly did not believe that bad things come in threes.
If Kylie had known what was coming that week, she might have broken the habit of a lifetime and stayed in bed. Instead she swung her feet to the floor. She showered, ate her porridge, made her bed, packed her lunch and dressed in her usual work clothes of business-appropriate blouse (white) and pants (navy) and jacket (navy) and flight-attendant block heels (black).
Unfortunately for Kylie, today would enter into Schnabel family folklore as The Monday of the Week of the Three Disasters. (Or as Nick sometimes called it, The Week of the Two Disasters and One Mild Annoyance.)
On the subject of bad things and their frequency, Kylie was about to be proved wrong.
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