The phone rang at 12:30 am.
Two rings. It jolted me upright. But when I picked it up, there was only a dial tone.
Probably a wrong number. Maybe someone grabbed the caller’s phone and shut it off, exclaiming, “Good heavens. Don’t call them at this hour!” Maybe.
Possibly, it was bad news. A heart attack. An accident. My mind flits to a friend. When her uncle died at 3 am, her husband took the phone away from her, saying her uncle would be just as dead at 9 am; why make folks fret about it in the middle of the night. Let everybody get some sleep.
I rooted back down in my covers, making a nest out of sheets and pillows, getting it tucked in just so at the sides.
The phone rang again.
My arm shot toward the receiver like a yo-yo.
The raucaus laughter of teenagers sounded from the other end. Then “shh’s” and giggles. I hung up without saying a word.
My sleep is a fragile thing, like a shadow that I can’t catch. My mind spiraled to my juvie phone pranks. Like calling the National Gambling Association and telling them, “I bet 50 bucks I can end my gambling problem by the start of next week.” I was glad I wasn’t 16 and hilarious anymore. Half and hour passed.
I could hear a barking dog. I wondered how far away he was. What was he grousing about? Images of skunks and raccoons on night raids filled my mind. An hour winked away.
I got up and padded outside, wrapped in a blanket.
A full moon reigned over the sky. The earth like a stage, lay waiting in silvery-blue light. The faintest breeze carried star song from the passing constellations. Fine white crystals spider-webbed across pumpkins and leaves. The first frost of fall.
I smile. Maybe it wasn’t a prank call. Perhaps it was the signal to let me know intermission was over. The second act of the seasons had begun.