Ayako’s flight for Seoul left at 7:00 a.m. this morning. This is a reasonable departure time, but with air travel the way it is these days, a reasonable departure time usually translates into a completely insane waking time. In this case, 3:30 a.m.
Now, for a long time in my life, waking up at 3:30 a.m. was morally unacceptable. Being awake at 3:30 a.m. was fine, but only if I was ragingly intoxicated and sitting in the booth of a 24-hour taqueria telling everyone who would listen (and many who wouldn’t) why Emily Bronte was totally the sexiest Bronte and the stupid people say it was Anne are just moronic morons who eat garbage for their food because they like garbage.
As I’ve gotten older, though, I’ve come to appreciate both the subtle eroticism of Agnes Grey and the quieter watches of the night. There is something deeply calming and content about being awake before the rest of the world, driving through empty, darkened streets that feel both abandoned and private; this secret, silent city left only for you to witness and explore.
After Ayako went through security to catch her flight, I drove home, the sky still dark but for a full, shining moon and the electric starlight of distant skyscrapers. When I got home, I thought about going back to bed, but decided to stay up instead. I fixed a pot of coffee and sat in the living room, watching as the sun rose, the city struggled to life, and the day unfurled itself brilliant and bright as a butterfly’s wing.