At three a.m., I found myself once again gazing out of the window of room 613. I was poised at my keyboard, the blue-gray glow of the screen casting a surreal light through the darkened room. I felt like I wanted to write something about Phil D., but the words wouldn’t come.
The view of Terre Haute seemed to beckon to me. There was something out there in the night of this Indiana city that just pulled my attention away from what it was that I was supposed to be doing.
Something pulling me.
So I allowed myself to be pulled. I looked out the window and abandoned pretending that I was about to write something, abandoned my futile task. As I gazed out the window, all was still below me. I suppose that this was the way that things were at three o’clock in the morning in most normal places throughout the world. All quiet. All sedate. All peaceful. It was a state that I was generally unaccustomed to seeing in a city. I had been living in New York for so long that I had forgotten that there were cities which did sleep. I was in one such city right now.
Then the phone rang. A 3 am call. Always interesting to ponder who that might be.
It was Samantha.
“So, Phil D. is okay. Turns out this is like his 5th heart attack. Apparently, they’re getting used to seeing him at the hospital. The nurses talked about giving him a discount card or something.”
“Well that’s good to hear.”
“Yes it is. And I’m gonna let you go because after tonight I am dog tired.”
“All right. Goodnight Samantha.” “Goodnight David. And David….” “Yes?”
I hung up the phone and my gaze was once again drawn to the cityscape out my window.
The really disturbing part of a sleeping city is that the peacefulness really gives a person a chance to think. To think about all of the things that one really did not want to think about. I always refer to the daytime as “static time” because there is so much human activity going on during the daytime that it keeps a person’s brain occupied, as if filled with static. A big part of me thinks that maybe that’s really what helps most people hold it together. The static keeps them going. I think that most people really don’t want to stop and think about the life that is streaking past them. Stopping and thinking about it can be a downright disturbing thing to do. I know. I do it far too often. But when a person’s mind is occupied, the time can just pass by with little notice. And that is, for most people, a blessing indeed. So most of them live their lives there in the static time, keeping the worst of the thoughts at bay and making it possible to keep going until the end.
So I looked out at the Terre Haute night. And as I gazed out across the city a chill passed through my body, a chill which signaled that an end was near.