You see a lot of sunrises when come off the night shift and a couple of whiskeys haven’t put you to bed yet. I pick a strand of cat hair off of my glass and watch the pink and orange hues mix themselves into something that would eventually become daylight. I wanted a cigarette, but I had quit, and nothing was open.
The night shift wasn’t bad. Keeping myself awake with bad coffee was something I had always been good at. There weren’t any people around either, so it was just me and my bad coffee and an extra few dollars an hour to sit there and keep a chair warm.
And you got to see sunrises, and if you could keep yourself up from a couple extra hours after you got home, then you could hit a diner and get yourself some greasy bacon and some tired looking eggs. I only managed it a couple of times though, bed was just too powerful a desire to deny.
I think I stayed up to watch the sunrise because if I didn’t I would forget that the sun existed. I’d be caught up in an endless loop of shifts where I never saw the sun; to the point where I would forget what a blue sky day could look and feel like. Night shift wasn’t bad; it just had its bad moments.
She was working days while I was on nights. We never saw each other. I walked into an apartment that always looked fled from. Her perfume still clung to the air, her morning cup of tea half finished and sitting on the kitchen table, and the bathroom still thick with condensation from her morning shower. I soaked in the details and tried to remember what it was like when we had days off and napped together on the couch. When I did see her morning routine I soaked in all the details of it, so that when I walked into its aftermath I could connect to it and feel less alone.
Then I’d watch the sun rise.