Night Has Fallen (and it Can’t Get Up)

Dearest Rachel –

You wouldn’t know much about this, but back in the days when I was still working for a living, I would set the alarm to go off shortly after five. It was early enough for me to wash and dry myself, get dressed, and sit around doing my morning reading while I ate something approximating a reasonable breakfast, before driving off early enough to get to the office at around 7:30. The workday didn’t start until eight, but I never wanted Mohinder to be there before I was, lest he find something to chew me out for before I walked in – that was no way to start the day.

For the most part, this meant getting up in what might as well have been the darkest part of the night. I didn’t even bother to turn on the light in the bathroom – the nightlight was sufficient for me to shower by. It wasn’t as if I could see very well, anyway, so it wasn’t really necessary for the shower stall to be all lit up in order for me to wash myself properly. Even shaving didn’t require my eyesight; all I needed was to run my hand over my jawline, cheekbone, or wherever to establish whether I’d gotten everything trimmed down to the skin or not. It may not have been the most pleasant start to the morning, but it was what was necessary in order to get started on a day with a deadline.

That’s how it is on a day like today, when I have to be at church by at least eight – and preferably, earlier than that. To be sure, this weekend is easier than most – there are only a few songs, most of which are reasonably familiar, and (since most of the pastoral staff apparently is away for the Labor Day weekend, as much of the congregation is expected to be, I suppose), even the sermon is pre-recorded, a fairly unusual thing, considering their standard philosophy of having live teaching at all campuses at all times – but there are still always some things that need to be set up beforehand, so I’ve still got to get myself put together and over there ahead of time.

Needless to say, I’m not entirely ready for when the alarm screams at me at five-thirty, even if I am slightly awake from having awoken from yet another weird dream (involving an unsuccessful attempt to get the British royal family to try an enjoy sushi – one of the older members was just straight up pouring piles of spices on his plate like on an artist’s palate in order to drown out the taste). I never enjoyed that sound – nobody does, which is, I think, part of the point – and I always found myself amazed that you were able to sleep through it. Then again, it wasn’t as if it was next to your head.

I know I would use the computer to wake you up on Sunday mornings, by playing this or that song on YouTube, and while it would be more pleasant than the screech of the alarm clock, I don’t know if it would be sufficiently effective on me. Considering that the new television now automatically turns itself off when it’s not in use, I don’t know if I could program the built-in Alexa to do that sort of thing. Maybe someday, if I’m ever able to get it to sound like you, I’ll have it just try and talk to me to wake me up.

What’s particularly discouraging about a morning like today is the fact that, as early as I’m up, it’s still dark. I’ve gotten way too used to both not having to get up this early, and even if I did, it was at least somewhat light, due to it still being in the summer months. And while technically, it’s still summer for the next three weeks – with temperatures to prove it – a morning like this doesn’t feel like it. Once night has fallen these days, it’s not getting up until it’s good and ready, despite the fact that I don’t feel like I have that option.

It’s not helped by the fact that, according to the forecast, the sun isn’t planning to force itself on the day like it usually does. It’s going to be cloudy and dark even after it shows up, and I can consider myself lucky if I make it to church without getting rained on. At least I’m not compelled to park all the way over at the local school, given the holiday weekend.

I wonder why it is that our moods are so dictated by our surroundings. There’s nothing like a bright, sunny day to put a smile on our faces, and make our day just go that much easier. On the other hand, waking up in pitch black like today is just the sort of thing to kill one’s motivation. It’s not that I want to be like this – although I admit that I could use an hour or two more of sleep, despite having gotten a couple in the chair last night, and five in bed already, so that’s a decent total, at any rate – but I’m just not ready to get started today, for whatever reason, and I think the darkness of the day has something to do with that.

Still, I really need to get going, regardless. Wish I had your presence with me, to urge me on. And to think, as the days go on, it’s going to stay darker, longer from here on out, for many months to come.

I guess all I can ask you to do, honey, is to wish me luck; I’m going to need it.

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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