There’s a loneliness to the 4 am grind. You step outside your apartment for some fresh air, and to escape that oppressive heat that seems to seep from the old walls of old buildings in the summer. It’s like you’re the last person on earth, with the busy street outside devoid of noise, devoid of traffic, and devoid of movement. You could walk out into the middle of the street and be in no danger. You feel it, that lack of presence of life, except for the sounds of your own heartbeat, and the caw of the seagulls that never seem to sleep either.
I should be sleeping. I’ve been staying up too late, too often. Now, when I get up before the afternoon, it feels as if the sun is in the wrong place in the sky, and that something about the composition of the day is different now that I have replaced morning with late afternoon.
Someone in the building across from mine is awake. I can see the light through their blinds. Yet they are unreachable, an outpost I can never make my way to. I think it would be nice to have someone else out here in all this haze, someone to have a cup of coffee with, to talk to, to be present, so that I would feel less like the last person on earth.
I go back inside and listen to the refrigerator hum, and the fan turn in the corner of the room. Maybe there’s too much to think about. Maybe the seagulls are keeping me up. I turn on the radio, and tune into a talk station, just to hear voices. The sun will be up soon, and when the buses start to run is usually when I finally fall into a dreamless dozing, sprawled out like a base jumper on a bed with the sheets and pillows kicked to the floor.
I think I sleep then, because I know I’m not alone anymore, that the world is out and alive again, and I have made it alone through the night.