I sit at my computer, writing a speech that’s due in class tomorrow—or rather today. I rehearse my speech at full volume, hoping no one will wake up and tell me to quiet down. I like hearing the sound of myself speak. It’s the only thing that prevents me from becoming paranoid about being the only one in the house awake. There is no one in the shadows, I tell myself. I read out loud so I do not feel alone.
My most eloquent speeches come out of three am.
I lay in bed, one leg out of the sheets and one leg in, my phone shining on my face. I text my friend. We talk about life, about problems, about the things that never come up until three in the morning. I’m tired, I say. Me too, he replies. But we keep on talking.
The perfect time to talk is three am.
We sit on my bed, watching Camp Rock 2. The first time we tried to watch it, we fell asleep in the middle of it. This time, we are determined to carry on till the end. It is painful to sit through. There are better things to do at three than watch this cinematic tragedy. In the middle of the final musical number, my friend starts laughing. Or is she crying? I can’t tell. Knowing her, it’s probably both.
The best laughs come from three am.
I sit outside, listening to the sound of the night. It sounds like nothing, yet it sounds like something. California nights are just the right amount of crisp. The air smells chilly, invigorating. I am not tired. Every now and then, a car speeds down the street. Why are they awake? Where are they going at three in the morning? I’ll never know.
What do other people do at three am?
We sit, shoulders touching, on the bench outside. Putting together a puzzle is hard by streetlight. Inside the music is loud, people are dancing, and they are yelling. That is not how I want to spend my last night. I’m leaving tomorrow, I say. I know, he replies. He looks at me, his eyes smile, and he returns to the puzzle. We talk about things, but we do not talk about goodbyes.
3am is the time for living in the moment.
I am awake. I sprawl out on my twin bed, staring at the ceiling. I roll to one side and close my eyes. Twenty minutes later, I am still awake. I can’t stop thinking about college. About homework. About the things I have to do when it is no longer three in the morning. I shouldn’t have drank that coffee. My small body can’t handle that much caffeine. The night should be quiet, but my beating heart and pounding thoughts insist otherwise.
It is three am, and I am wide awake.