Around 5 in the morning, most mornings, he showers in the dark, with only a nightlight plugged in to guide him. He shaves this way too, while in the shower. A ‘fog-less’ mirror suctioned to the shower wall. He must rub soft soap with delicate care along the surface of the mirror in order for the fog to remain off it.
Why does he do this? The design of this ‘apartment’ is such that the master bedroom and the bathroom windows are near each other. One faces north, the other east. When light from the bathroom is turned on, it spills into the master bedroom where his wife tries to sleep; her side of the bed is puddled in light, to which she is entirely sensitive.
When the morning ritual of cleanliness is achieved in near silent darkness, he carefully enters the living room, then straight into the kitchen and begins his day making a one-cup coffee wonder. A coffee pod in a machine. An exact amount of filtered water from his cup to the machine. And a coffee creamer to sweeten and flavor the brew when its hot and ready.
Next he attends his phone or his laptop. Sometimes he writes for thirty minutes or an hour, depending on when he’s scheduled to be in to work.
Sometimes he writes for fifteen minutes and then meditates for a half hour. Most days he forgets to eat a proper breakfast and is famished by lunch.
Today, now, outside it is pouring rain. He sits and listens. When it rains through the night most people can sleep like babies. Not him. He does not sleep well. If he is wakened to relieve himself and it happens to be raining, his sleep is banished, as though he had a shot of espresso.
It is an unusual thing, he thinks. To be so electrified by the rain. Who knows why—nothing he can remember about the rain makes this a particularly significant event in which he must stay awake. It’s as if some ancient portion of the brain is at work to defend him from unknown evil that only comes out when the heavens spill their waters onto Mother Earth's thirsty lands.
When he thinks back very hard he can almost remember a time when the rain lulled him to sleep. This is way back, to when he was a child. Primordial history.
These days, however, upon hearing the rain in the middle of the night, the cerements of his sleep are banished post haste.
Any viscidity he may feel in the body is wiped clean, replaced by fresh verve. And with it he is up, coffee nearly forgotten, he is ready to tackle the day, or…tackle something.