O’Dark Thirty

“I’m awake already.” I rollover.

Was it ” Mr. wakey wakey” on his rounds for watchstanders? No. 

There were no vibrations of a ship, always alive. Reaching out, I don’t find wooden ceiling planks. I’m not aboard Psyche; I’d feel the movement of water through the hull.

 I know when and where I’m not. It’s not Navy, and it’s not Maine. It’s still O’dark thirty, that’s why I thought back to waking for the mid-watch. Everyone’s favorite, midnight till four AM. There’s a crack of light from the hall outside; I’m home. The blackout curtains my wife insists on creating a bedroom so deep in darkness that its disorienting.

The trouble waking isn’t new. It’s been a feature of my life on and off since college. An assignment in American Literature to read Slaughterhouse Five initiated it. Like Billy Pilgrim, I seem to float between critical points in life. The waking uncertainty went away in grad school. But it had resurfaced with the curtains.

It’s not so much that I’d fear waking in those two times or places. It’s the uncertainty of where else my soul might range that scares me.