Saturday, May 8, 2010

insomnia

do you guys know how much i love the hours between 4 and 6 am?

first, there was the summer between junior and senior year of high school, when anything seemed possible. i made mix tapes for my car, which i had just learned to drive, of wistful love songs like beyond the sea and i believed them. the night before my mom's wedding my friend and i stayed up late, slumping from the couch to the floor, and watched fellini films like we were the first people in the world to see them. i would wake up at 3 or 4 and float into the morning, listening to gentle, sad music and writing poems and letters and college essays. i loved these hazy hours when everyone else was asleep and i could do absolutely nothing as if it were the most important and meaningful thing in the world.

last year i worked from 6 to 2, and i would wake up every day at 5:30. the house was dark and cold and my dad would turn on the tap and i would remember that it was the morning, just before the alarm went off. i was always surprised how ok it was to be awake at 5:24, before the alarm. and i would put on my uniform and parka and thud downstairs and my dad and i would have an english muffin with boysenberry jam and lots of butter. then he would defrost the car and drive me the 5 minutes to town, where i would have the first cup of coffee out of the machine and memorize the floorboards until customers started trickling in at 7:30. it made me realize that even at my unluckiest, i am the luckiest person in the world.

this is my first real week of insomnia in california. i fought it. but then this morning i got up at 3:30, turned on the oven, mixed a loaf of bread, stood on my balcony and watched the sky shift from bruised to bleached. i am eating the bread now and i forgot to put salt in it, so it is hot and moist and filling and totally flavorless. i watched tv, balanced my checkbook, and read the new york times, where i found this. my favorite thing about being awake between 4 and 6 is that you are the only one awake, but you never feel alone.

1 comment:

Emily said...

Love the thoughts and the writing here, Lily. I, too, love the silence and possibilities inherent in being awake while everyone else is asleep. Might try to replicate the brownie recipe in the middle of the night (liked that article too...), but maybe not the salt-free bread! Usually I just do sudoko puzzles, read issues of the New Yorker I haven't gotten to in weeks, or challenge Sensei in a game of "Rainbow" Yahtzee.

Love ya,
Mom