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The Night

I have always been a night person. I don’t know why. Something about the night has always brought me peace. Ever since Junior High, when I moved into my own room, I remember staying up late into the night. It’s quiet. It’s peaceful.

It started with books, reading late into the night just to finish the story, and moved on to little hobbies. I would stay up fiddling around on the computer long before the days of the internet, learning the ins and outs of DOS and Windows 3.1, then moving on to learn the secrets of Windows 95. I crashed many computers many times and spent the night figuring out why they crashed and trying to bring them back to life. Often I would grab my walkman or stereo and take them apart just to see what was inside and then see if I could put them back together. I remember building an exact replica of the Batmobile from scratch out of Legos. This took me all through the night hours. I remember trying to rig an electric bubble blower to a ceramic halloween skull so I could get a little plastic ball to hover over one of those novelty straw net things. It was late at night that I learned to draw. It was late at night that I learned patience. It was late at night that I found peace.

I didn’t always have to be doing something. Often I would lie on my bed, just staring at the ceiling for hours, doing nothing but thinking. I would lie there in silence and just let my mind wander. I later got an old TV and put it in there, but it was rarely on.I remember rearranging things in my room one night and the TV fell on my legs. I didn’t want to wake anyone up, so I just grit my teeth, rolled it off my knees, and laughed. Late Night with Conan O’Brien used to come on at 3am in Houston for some reason. I remember watching one night as he came to Houston to see if anyone was actually watching his show. He went to the bus station. He should’ve come to my house.

My house was always chaotic, admittedly much of it was my own fault, but I always found solace in my room. The rest of the house was a pig sty, but my room was always spotless. It was my fortress of solitude. No matter what was going on outside, I knew I could leave it all outside. My room was my own little world. I even wrote it on the window shade in blacklight responsive ink, “Welcome to my world.” My entire room glowed in the dark, from the stars, to the posters, to the knobs on my ancient stereo. It truly was my world.

Later, my room wasn’t enough. I had to find other ways to escape. I would go on late night drives, cruising the empty streets. No one even knew I was gone. When I graduated High School, I started strapping on my rollerblades every night at 2am and would skate for miles around the empty neighborhoods to clear my head. It doesn’t matter how big your city is, every street empties if you stay up late enough. Even crime goes to sleep eventually, but not me. I can fall asleep anywhere, anytime, except at night.

People often wonder how I can spend so much time alone. They get bored. The truth is, I almost prefer it. I don’t have to be entertained, I’m often satisfied just staring at the wall. My mind never shuts up. Maybe that’s why I have trouble sleeping at night. Maybe late at night is the only time my mind is truly free. Maybe I just spend too much time inside my head.

It is now almost 6am and I’m just beginning to get tired. It’s quiet. It’s peaceful. Outside, the only sounds to be heard are those of normal people waking up and starting the morning commute. Over time, I discovered writing, and the therapeutic effects therof. Now my nights are mostly spent writing, freeing my mind, trying to get it to shut up. Now, for some reason, in the age of blogging, I am posting my ramblings on the world wide web along with so many afflicted kids. They listen to their emo and write their poetry and complain about how no one understands them. They stay up at night to cry out to the world, to be noticed, to be welcomed. I am not afflicted. I stay up at night to be alone, to find peace.