In the Middle of the Night
A Short Story by K. L. Tabor
Written using the suggestion "Security"
Originally featured on 11-12-2009
As part of our series "The Words That Seem to Justify Anything"

Everything feels old and used and said and tired. And I’m tired, and roll over and sleep and maybe I’ll sleep because I’m tired and I’ve run out of stories to tell. So I’ll just sleep. And toss and turn and wake up and go sit on the sidewalk in the middle of the night.


Lay in the middle of the sidewalk in the middle of the night and look up at the stars, but that will feel old and tired too, so I’ll look for something new. Something new to look at, that’s never been looked at from the middle of the sidewalk in the middle of the night. And maybe what will happen, because this would be the best thing to happen, and I think the best thing should happen, and that best thing is that from the middle of the night I’ll look up and see someone else, up awake in the middle of the night in the middle of the street. Me in the middle of my sidewalk and them in the middle of theirs and they’ll look at the stars and I’ll look at them until they look down and look at me. And I’ll wave my hand and they’ll wave theirs.


“It’s nice,” I’ll say, cupping my hands around my mouth so my voice tunnels round going straight to them. Keeping this just between us two.


“What is?” They’ll answer, cupping their hands back.


“Being awake in the middle of the night.” Sitting like this, just like this. And they’ll smile and nod, and won’t ask me my name, because that wouldn’t be important, but they might ask me what my favorite winter animal is, which I might not understand at first; the distinction between a winter and a summer animal. And they might look up at the stars, and say, “You know, the ones that sleep all winter without coming out.”


And I’ll answer, “Probably a bear,” mostly because I won’t be able to think of another kind of winter animal. And they’ll nod their head and say that that is their favorite kind of sleeping animal too. Curled up, rolled up, a hundred layers of fur, and stars overhead, they sleep, and we’re sleeping and everyone is sleeping. From me. To you. To them. To someone sitting by me in the middle of the night. And I’ll say goodbye and say goodnight, and roll myself up, and curl myself up and tuck myself up; a hundred soft sheets in the middle of the bed.

Read More By K. L. Tabor

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