Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – March 11, 2004
Late Night Conversations
Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – March 11, 2004 – I am an inveterate night hawk. I love the quiet softness and mystery of the night. The lane outside my office window has five, tall light standards that cast a white glow on the ground.
The light reflects off the puddles created by the melting snow and makes the shadows less intimidating. I’m tucked away inside, safe and warm. It’s after eleven o’clock and I should go to bed. Instead I linger and play a game of solitaire on my computer. A late night e-mail arrives from a client and I answer it. My phone rings. Call display announces my friend Big. She is another devotee of the night. I was speaking with her earlier in the evening and was supposed to call her back.
I hesitate. I’m tired and I know I should go to bed. I’m not getting enough sleep, due in large part to menopausal madness, tiny bladder/pee often syndrome and my hormone free/hot flash plagued body. I answer the phone. After some banter about my forgotten return call, we start to chat. I know we’re in for a long one. That’s the thing about late night calls.
The rush is gone from the day. Meals are over, dogs are walked, kids (not mine or Big’s) are tucked in with Teddy and husbands (not mine or Big’s) are already asleep. We have no one to answer to and no schedules but our own. The night is seductive and quiet. Secrets are safe. We talk about the day, the frustrations, the stupid people we have encountered, the stupid people we will bump into again tomorrow, how much we would like to travel, money, health and fitness or lack thereof, how much we like Peter Spalding – an associate in our office, anxiety, friendship, my penchant for privacy, her dad Clem, World War 2, our mothers, clients, spirituality, our lives, being in love, not being in love, setting goals, lunch plans for the end of the month, professional courses we both need to take, reading, women’s rights, awful bosses we’ve had in the past, our careers, middle age and where we think our lives will be in a year.
It’s quarter to two in the morning. We’re both yawning, but it’s hard to hang up. Neither of us has an early morning client meeting. We could have had this conversation earlier in the evening, perhaps at nine o’clock, but it wouldn’t have been the same. Ziggy wanders in and hops up on my lap. I shift in my chair to relieve a knot in my shoulder. We finally acknowledge that sleep is a necessity and say goodnight.
I yawn again and shake my head. I vow to stop these night time marathons, but know that I’ll never abandon them completely. I’m convinced if I went to bed at ten o’clock something important would happen and I wouldn’t be around to experience it. I’m not sure what this momentous event might be, but then it hits me – I’d be missing out on some of the most excellent, personal conversations I ever have with one of my best friends. So while the city may sleep – I linger on the phone!
How blessed I am to have a friend like this. Someone who understands and accepts me just the way I am. Someone else who appreciates the quiet at the day’s end. Morning will be here soon enough, but I can’t resist. I have another game of solitaire. I win. That bodes well for tomorrow. I set the house alarm and climb the stairs to my bedroom. Ziggy tags along. Lights out. Time to surrender to the sweet quiet of the night. Time to sleep.