It’s 4am and I’m wide awake. I couldn’t sleep, whether it was too much garlic in the dish I had made the night before or because I simply had too much on my mind. Somehow, watching South Park’s little characters walking sideways has amused me to the point of forgetting my troubles temporarily. Vince from ShamWow almost convinced me that I’m gonna love his nuts but, surprisingly, many things happen at this time that I’ve never noticed before. Birds chirp the loudest during this time - one even hit my sliding glass door not too long ago. There are people up working at this time, continually backing up trucks for some God known reason: “BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP!” I wonder how I slept through all of this before. I hear people getting into their cars to drive off to work and other people just coming home from a night out of partying. I can’t believe how lively it is.
There are people having a conversation below my apartment, so I decided to take my laptop out on the deck and write from there. I’ve never seen the atmosphere so fired up with energy before. Birds are chirping like maniacs. Planes are practically brushing up against one another in their flight paths to get from point A. to point B. Commuter trains are firing off their horns, making sure nothing is in their way down the tracks. Sirens are going off - fire alarms, police sirens as well as ambulances are rushing by, yet the streets are somehow empty. What goes on at this hour?
And in my mind is another chaotic scene. Memories of people who used to be in my life; who used to want to be in my life. Times when I, myself have come home at this hour, horrified that the birds were chirping so loudly, indicating I would surely have a severe headache when I woke up sometime in the mid-afternoon. I remember being a bartender waiting for 5am to roll around so I could pack up all the liquor in a safe cabinet and head home. The bar would be empty, except for a few lost souls looking for some sound advice, which I needed myself. I had become their therapist, giving them their medication right on the spot. It was sad shouting out “last call” to one or two people, and to have to watch them stagger home...or to stagger somewhere unknown.
But all of that is behind me. I know there are still people screaming out “last call” at this hour, but I’m home. I’m home where my wife is. I’m home where I can sit here and type this all out. I’m home, where none of these things in my past can affect me anymore. But, somehow it’s a kick in the ass when your mind lets you visit the places, the people and the pain of what you’ve been through in your past come rising up to the surface, making it reality again. Especially if you’re the “thinker type”, you wonder: are these people that are now in my past okay? Whatever happened to so and so? Or the worst thought that could be lingering would be: I wonder if someone's up at 4am thinking about me too.