She'd fallen from the warm enfolding arms of sleep to the cold empty vault of wakefulness.
Now she sat at the kitchen table, relishing the heat of the tea as it washed away the last vestiges of drowsiness.
Even at three in the morning there was no peace, no silence in the house. He'd lain there oblivious as she slipped out of bed, his slow, steady breath sounding like the white noise of an untuned tv. Downstairs now, the droning hum of the fridge replaced his snoring, accompanied by the rhythmical back beat of the clock on the mantelpiece.
She had a spot on her chin. She could feel it growing, pushing at her skin from inside, like a living creature, a mole seeking to break through the earth's crust. Pointlessly she tried to push it back. Her skin felt taut and stretched, smooth and shiny.
No-one had ever told her she'd still get spots at this age. Every month for more than thirty years, a sign of her body's monthly cycle. Almost the only thing that had stayed with her since her teenage years.
In front of her on the table lay a copy of The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekov. She'd been reading it earlier in the evening. Perhaps her love of words was another thing that had stayed.
Snippets from the play came back to her. Set in Russia, more than a hundred years ago, it was a different world, a different century.
Chekov had called it a comedy, it was certainly no Aristotleian tragedy, but the sadness showed through.
Moments of absurdity, of arm-waving clumsiness, only seemed to heighten the sense of hopelessness for the characters, passing through life, unable to take or make the decisions that would alter their fate. All they could do was live and love, love and lose, watching the passing years reflected in the ageing faces of those around them.
She shivered; the early morning air seeped around her bare legs, her tea had gone cold. She emptied the dregs down the sink, watched them swirl away.
"Live, love, and carry on" she told herself as she switched off the light and slowly, carefully, inched her way up the stairs and back to bed.