These early morning hours are hardest on the insomnia addled soul. I sat for the longest time listening to Coast to Coast AM out of New Orleans enjoying that hot and steamy coffee from my thermos. The minutes would tick by excruciatingly slow – each hour as if it were a moment of time stood still. The thing I noticed the most was that it was a pitch black and clear sky spangled with thousands of stars yet you could see bright lightning on the horizon. My grandfather would always say you could see a storm for a hundred miles on a clear Southern summer night.
I left that park across from that old cotton mill and walked through town about a mile away from home. Took a shortcut through the car lot near Rosa's house. Stopped for a moment to look at the prices. Some of these pretentious cars were almost as expensive as my new house. I mused that I would never probably be able to afford such a vehicle for the rest of my life and it didn't bother me at all. My little Honda will be transporting me around for the next decade I hope. After that, come what may. I rarely drive anyway.
The diner had started serving breakfast at 4am for the early morning blue collar work crowd. I put out my cigar, walked in, took a seat and grabbed a menu.
"What are you having, honey?" The sleepy African American waitress asked with pad in hand.
"Get me the eggs, grits, toast, and bacon platter," I said, "and a large orange juice."
My meal was quickly brought out and I sat eating as I people watched. All the railroad workers come in this time of the morning after a night of riding the rails and I wondered what far flung towns and distant environs they had visited overnight. They laughed and talked boisterously over breakfast platters and unending mugs of coffee. I envied them of their job and camaraderie.
I wiped my hands and mouth with my napkin and put a generous tip on the table. I left the diner just minutes from home. I saw that lightning flash brightly one more time on the horizon lighting the distant thunderhead and smiled. Someone in this drought stricken south was getting a good rain and storm. I envied them as well as I would have loved to have curled up in my bed to the sounds of rain and thunder. Maybe such a nature's serenade would have induced sleep. I pulled my backpack tightly upon my shoulders and walked home with thoughts of raging storms, comforting beds, and cool air conditioned air on this hot and humid night. Sometimes, it is okay to have insomnia. I would have missed this wonderful morning of mostly solitude.