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While the world sleeps, I’m wide awake at 3am

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My last piece of paper will probably list "Time of Death": 3 am.

3 am: a mysterious, dark, lonely, strange, other-worldly hour. Even the latest of the late night-owls has gone to bed. Even the earliest of the early risers is still asleep. Only I am awake.

I was born at three o'clock in the morning.

The hours of childhood flow together, always supported by love, active days of learning and discovery, nights of deep sleep with the occasional bad dream, mother, father, comfort.

3 am: on a camping trip, my turn to be awakened for guard duty, sitting by the campfire, watching over sleeping friends, gigantic stars in an amazing sky, wind rustling in the trees, alone but not alone.

3 am: studying for a big exam, so tired but motivated by the need to be ready, to succeed.

3 am: for lovers, we've slept a few hours, morning is a long way off, we're close, warmth contact. Half-awake, it begins, it's so good to be together. It feels so good, we make love, warmth, excitement, release. We sleep in each other's arms.

3 am: as a young mother it is time for a feeding, the baby is crying, she's hungry but I'm so worn-out, tomorrow is a big day, so much to do. I don't have any strength to be awake now, but she needs me, only me. I take her in my arms. She's so small and so beautiful and so hungry. She latches on to my breast and is calm. She sucks and sucks and relaxes, she knows she can depend on me, I am mother-love, I hold her, a little miracle. She sleeps and so do I.

3 am: going on a trip, exciting wake-up call, jump up, put the last-minute things in the carry-on luggage. We're both ready, he carries the heavy bag to the car. The road is almost empty, the whole world is still asleep, where are the people in those other few cars going? Arrive at the airport, three o'clock in the morning is just like midday, hundreds of people, feverish activity. Is that our plane out on the tarmac? What new places are we going to see? What new experiences are awaiting us?

3 am: ideas for work, I don't know what woke me but, as I lie there, I suddenly have a solution to that problem, yes, that's it, it can be done like that. Have to talk to so-and-so in the morning, I can't let myself forget this, it's perfect, I'd better get up and write it down so that I don't forget it the way I forget dreams. Turn on the light, slide the thought out of my brain onto this piece of paper where it will be waiting for me in the morning, go right back to sleep the minute my head hits the pillow.

3 am: sitting by a sick-bed in the hospital, is he restless? Does he need something? Should I call the nurse? I don't want to be a nuisance but, if he really needs something, I should call, is the I.V. working properly? Is that a dangerous bubble? What does the noise that the monitor makes mean? I must stay awake and alert, my love will help him recover, he can feel my love even now, I have to be strong for both of us, I'm awake, not even sleepy.

3 am: alone, why did it have to end this way? Where is he? How can I continue? Children are loving and caring, they have their own lives, friends are attentive and supportive, they have their own lives .What life do I have left? I am alone, time goes by, life goes on, contentment is possible, happiness still exists, a new togetherness, someone to care for who cares for me, fulfillment, even joy. Family, involvement in the lives of children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, a new world.

3 am: Why do I always find myself awake at 3 am? I can guess the time without even looking at the clock. What woke me? The pillow is hot, I turn it over, I can't lie still. Relax, it's much too early to be awake, thoughts, worries, ideas, memories, plans, thoughts, more thoughts. Why can't I find a button that will let me turn it off and fall asleep? How do I manage to fall asleep immediately at the beginning of the night? How does anyone ever manage to fall asleep, to turn off thoughts? Maybe, it's best to just get up, turn on the light, and read or do some chores? They say that old people need less sleep but I know that I'll be tired in the morning if I get up now, I need to sleep, I can't sleep. 3 am. 



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Thursday, 25 July 2024

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