Insomniac awake all night

When old friends die

Insomniac awake all night

Three a.m., not a breath of air coming in the open window, not a sound. I lie awake listening to the silence. The cat jumps onto the window sill and stares into the night. She sees things that I cannot see. Suddenly she turns, jumps down and races into the darkness of the house. I think she heard a mouse. Yep, the scurrying of little feet. The hot pursuit goes on for about half an hour, then abruptly stops.

After a while she comes back into the bedroom, jumps onto the bed and settles down at the foot of the bed. She sleeps but I cannot. The night drags on. I think of turning on the light and reading some more William Burroughs, but I don’t want to disturb the stillness.

Thoughts crowd my brain. There were four of us, all about the same age, 18, 19, working a summer job sorting mail at the post office. Many memorable days talking about books, philosophy and the Beat Generation. We were at the age when you get on with your life and pretty soon we each went our separate ways. As the years passed we kept in touch one way or another, a couple of us more than the others.

Then the shock of how much time had passed. Last year the oldest of the post office four died, and last week, a second shock. Another one of us was placed in hospice care.

Two of us left. Who’s next?

I finally grabbed some sleep around six because the next thing I see is the open window filled with morning light; I hear the sound of traffic on County Road 9, and the crack-crack-crack of gunfire from the gun range a mile away. Sunday is an early day at the range, open at 9 a.m., ‘Family Day’ — and today a special Mother’s Day brunch. Bang bang and pass the coleslaw.

Ah, America. Best place I ever lived.

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2 thoughts on “When old friends die

  1. It’ tough losing old friends. Mortality awaits us all with open arms. I played in a classic rock band for twenty years, up until 2019. We had discussed reforming and were close. Our lead guitar player caught a case of cancer and was gone within a few weeks. Besides mourning him, which the three of us did, it took the wind out of our musical sails, for good. Sorry about your old friend.