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Ode to 2 AM

Such a perfect time of night.

It’s quiet because the late hour has gotten the better of most people, and those who are still awake either have to be or want to be, so the hour feels more willfull than any other.

The opposite of 2 AM would have to be 8 AM, because everyone just has to be awake at that time, and if you’re not, it’s almost as if you’re lazy, because you should be. Everyone else is.

8 AM is the equivalent of “If your friends all jumped off a bridge, well, so would you because you have to, and if you don’t you might get fired, or at least reprimanded.”

2 AM is more like “No one is still awake to jump off a bridge now, so who cares? And if someone is jumping, they’re ‘flying solo’ at this point, so of COURSE I’m not going to join them.”

8 AM is like cod liver oil or antibiotics or multi-vitamins or drinking 8 glasses of water. Obligation.

2 AM is like melted chocolate. Luxury. Choice.

I like everything at 2 AM. The noises of the street sound more exotic, the little vespa speeding down below is going somewhere more interesting, the ambulance is more tragic, the conversations more solemn. I notice the violet-scented nargila smoke waft in through the window in our bathroom from the lit balcony below our flat. Distant crickets in the concrete jungles, poems unraveling through the cracks of the city below.

The past day unraveling into the next day, in an hour that belongs to neither. 2 AM is the no-man’s land that belongs to neither yesterday nor tomorrow, it’s the time when I feel more alive because I feel no one else is. Except for the driver of the super-fast red car (I know it was red) that just flew to the other end of the city.

2 AM is the winning hour, the black hole where time is worth more and the seconds and minutes are slowed, it is the secret to getting an inch out of a mile for me because I’m tottering at the edge of wakefulness and slumber, vacillating, swinging, not quite conscious but not unconscious. And it’s before 3 and 4 AM which I don’t particularly like at all, and after 11 PM to 1 AM which are very productive for me, I think faster during those hours. 2 AM comes kind of like a break, like the surf receding from the beach after the wave.

It feels like the International Date Line. I feel like that reporter that just wears Hawaiian shirts and white anti-sunburn cream on his nose and moved to a small island on the International Date Line so he can straddle the line between yesterday and today and play tricks on his mind that no one else cares about.

It’s the identity crisis of the day when you always wonder why it matters that all those trees fall in the forest making a soundless sound, heard by no one.

2 AM is as far away as you can get from 8 AM. So much further away from it than the six hours that separate them.

Maybe that’s what it feels like for people who are growing apart. They’re still so close, and have so much in common, but they’re already so far apart.

2 AM is slipping away. Time to end the Ode.

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