In the demi-semi-second between closing and opening my eyes, I watch her as she stands by the sink, squeezing halved lemons into the crystal jug on the kitchen counter. They are the size of her fist and vaudeville yellow. As she stabs them meticulously with the three-pronged fork (the most useless of all kitchen utensils) her left hand index finger, plaster-clad thanks to a recent encounter with a serrated knife, sticks out in the opposite direction and jars her movements slightly. It is not yet dawn; the moon still looms through the open window in the wall in front of her, and the trees are half-lit with weary eerie silver. She finishes squeezing the lemons - exactly twelve crescent lemon carcasses are stacked on top of each other now - and begins pouring in the sugar.
She listens to the saccharine sprinkling as the granules tumble over each other, out of their paper bag and into the jug. Some get caught on the lemon-wetted sides and catch the light. She uses a long wooden chopstick to begin stirring the two ingredients together. Now, the sugar melting into the juice with a soft shimmering and the rhythmic thud of the chopstick hitting the crystal, she turns towards her packet of Marlboros, deftly removes a cigarette with one hand, then uses the same hand to turn on the hob in its small scale explosion, bends over, lights her cigarette, turns it off again.
And then my eyes open.