Staying Up Late

There’s something familiar about leaving the house at 10:30 p.m., walking away from my front door instead of heading toward it, already regretting tomorrow’s alarm clock.

Flashing back to the time I spent as a production journalist, trying to fit in with the anarchist poets in Gainesville, 10:30 feels early. 

I’m on the train now, riding into O’Hare to pick up my brother’s girlfriend from her semester studying in Fiji. Her phone is still deactivated from being out of the country, so I’ll have to find her the old fashioned way — showing up to baggage claim. My phone’s only got 19% battery life, so it’s probably better this way.

Alone in the L car, I can almost imagine the posts surrounding the airport fence holding the traffic lights I used to watch direct empty roads out my apartment window while I stayed up writing. The same lights I used to imagine Against Me! sang about.

It’s gotten hot in the city, even this late. There’s another song I know about that, but I think they were talking about something besides the weather. Aren’t we all.

It’s hot in the apartment since I don’t like to run the window units all day. Three isn’t quite enough for 1,200 feet anyway, so we rely on the fans except for when we sleep. Then we only need one.

The window units remind me of my second apartment in Gainesville. I moved into a smaller, cheaper apartment to save up for an engagement ring. I never turned that window unit off, and that apartment never got cold. Probably because I lived in a swamp. I’d wake up sweating when my alarm went off at 11 a.m., but I got the ring.

My alarm for tomorrow is already set for 5:30 a.m. When I get home, I’ll set a second on my phone as a backup. Even with the late night, I can’t miss an early morning in the office.

But on a night like this, I miss that life. I miss the poets. I miss those nights. I even miss the swamp.

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