She shook it off and for the hundredth time tried desperately to just breathe, in and out - find that rhythm that would take her back to sleep. As soon as her eyes closed, her thoughts swirled, ::again:: dark, twisting her mind until she found herself once again staring at the blank ceiling overhead.
Giving up with a sigh, she eased herself from under the blankets and pulled on the cotton pants that lay crumpled on the floor. He snuffled briefly at the intrusion to his sound sleep then lay still again.
Noticing the time on the wall clock, she groaned at the thought of a long day ahead that had just started way too early. The simple steps in preparing a cup of tea - putting on the kettle, measuring the leaves into a cup, watching the steam rise as the hot water steeped the leaves -- the motions began to calm her and release the knot that had been building between her shoulders. She pulled a wool blanket from the couch, wrapped it around her and stepped outside, barefoot onto the deck into the crisp fall pre-dawn.
The gray-purple sky was barely beginning to to lighten on the far horizon. There was absolute silence. No breeze, no birds chattering, no city noise, just ... still ... quiet ... frost-tinged air. She realized she had been holding her breath, not wanting to disturb this perfect tranquil moment. As she breathed out, warm puffs of smoky air suspended, simmered, and dissappeared.
Her thoughts from her tortured night returned, but she allowed them to sweep over her, stroking her nerves and unravelling the threads of the twisted wreckage inside. Free associated images played behind her eyelids, in wave after wave, until finally settling then falling away.
She opened her eyes and smiled. It was enough for today, that she still felt like doing that.