There’s the strangest thing about the night, and I don’t know what it is. It doesn’t matter if you’re in bed with your husband, or up with a screaming baby. It doesn’t matter if you’re driving home from the late shift, or about to sleep off an unforgettable night. You may be sneaking down the stairs to get a bite of that chocolate bar you can’t get out of your head, or just flipping the pillow from side to side. An old lover may be haunting you from the inside, or a new one may look like a stranger in your bed. Maybe a good book is your fancy, or maybe the restless leg syndrome paired with the migraine has flushed the idea of a good read down the toilet. There are so many different things to be doing, but until the sleep actually comes, there is always that feeling…the one not to be explained…the way you feel while it’s all happening.
At night the masks come off and we become something we aren’t during the day. My guess is that we become that vulnerable person we really are. Everyone knows the feeling…the one right before we relent and let the nods finally draw our eyes sweetly shut. It is a feeling almost like loneliness, but not quite. It is definitely a cousin to anxiety. I wouldn’t call it fear, although one last run through of all the things that could be harmful occurs at this time. I wouldn’t say I get nostalgic this time of night, but the reel of memories tempts me to. Oh that feeling…it isn’t quite happiness is it?
What is it about the night that does it to us? Is it that we have nothing left to do but shut down? Is it that there’s no need for logic to sleep? Maybe the night strips away whatever it is we hold onto to make it through the day, and we just roam like nomads out of control. Night is anything but quiet. It is full of stir and much ado. However, at night we are meant to leave others undisturbed, so whatever that roller coaster we are on, we ride solo. I’d say we’re most ourselves somewhere between two and three a.m., but no one will ever know. We are all busy doing our own things…biting our nails and spitting them into the floor, hugging a toilet, watching Seinfeld on low volume, eating something strange like cold spaghetti, or maybe, for the lucky ones, finally achieving rapid eye movement. The moon is our sole witness while we all practice solitude. Whatever those things are we do, though; apparently they get us through the night.