Encouraging Times

There’s an eerie glow around the buildings that quivers in the clouds across the river. It’s late, but I can’t sleep. I’ve tried, but I’m not sure how to try harder to go to sleep.

I stand up and walk to my window. The traffic on the Brooklyn streets below has slowed. I didn’t think it was possible, but unless I’m dreaming, I’m seeing it with my own two eyes: Brooklyn fell asleep before I did.

I’m a little afraid to look at the time, because no matter what time it is, it won’t be encouraging. There are some times that are — 2:52 p.m. is an encouraging time. So is 6:16 p.m. 9:34 a.m. can be as well, depending on whether it’s a weekday or a weekend. But after about 1:30 a.m., there aren’t any encouraging times. They’re grumpy, or cranky, or just downright eerie, like the Manhattan skyline right about now.

The line of thin, searing clouds scraping across the tops of the buildings on that island creates a haunting view, but I hesitate to pull my gaze away. I don’t want to know the time. They say ignorance is bliss, but I ‘m not sure I belive that.

Finally, I pull my eyes away from the shimmering skyline, and the time screams at me.

3:45 a.m.

3:45 is quite possibly the least friendly, least encouraging, grumpiest time on the clock. It’s all alone, nobody sees it very often. It’s stuck between all the other grumpy times: the 2 a.m.’s and the 4 a.m.’s. It doesn’t know if it’s really, really late, or really, really early, and that pisses everyone off, including me.

I think to myself that maybe I’ll be able to fall asleep before the 4 a.m.’s roll around, so I lay down. But my eyes don’t quite understand what’s going on. I shut them down, turn off all the lights, and try harder. My eyes start to catch on, but my mind is still wide awake. It runs around like it’s playing a game of tag. My exhaustion chases it around the yard, but can never quite catch it.

The 4 a.m.’s are flying past me, and they’re as grumpy and frustrated as ever. Then come the 5 a.m.’s, and they’re even worse. 6 a.m. hits, and light slowly grows over the Manhattan skyline, dimly at first, with deep, low colors that I forgot existed.

The sun rises. At least, I think that’s what this is called: sunrise. It’s been years since I’ve seen one. 6:51 is honest, confident, and freshly encouraging, but unforgiving.

My eyes are glued to the clock, waiting to see what each new minute will bring, and what I might miss by pretending it doesn’t exist. The sun peeks above Jersey, and stakes its claim in the sky with rays of light. The eerie glow dissipates, and golden light erupts into the sky. They say ignorance is bliss, but that’s true for everything except time.