The 3 a.m. hour is said to be made for writers, dreamers, and poets. Notorious insomniacs with words balancing between their brains and fingertips. I’ve come to know 3 a.m. in a different way.
All the wrongs, each memory, wound up into a constant highlight reel. Reliving each final detail one inhaled breath inward all the way to my slow outward sigh. Breathe in. See a flash. Breath out. Remember the moment.
I’ve come to know 3 a.m. as the time I clutch my phone watching videos and staring at pictures. Asking myself, “How did we mess this is up so damn much?” I begin counting the hours until I see my boy. A boy I hold in pictures wearing his daddy’s hat. A boy now shuffled between here and there. He is only beginning to juggle in his four year-old brain the back and forth choreographed dance.
The 3 a.m. hour is for grieving lovers and mothers. The mourning death sentence composed in one random instant on a Tuesday night. Dinner simmering, and yet I’ll never be able to tell you what was on the stove on that particular night. I can’t tell you the outfit hanging on my body. I can’t tell you the exact time an atom bomb hit my kitchen.
I can only tell you (304) 633- and a message. And two more messages. I don’t even have a name. Just half a phone number and filth. Half a number and filth caused marital detonation. Half a phone number and filth destroyed three lives on a Tuesday night.
Nothing will ever be the same.
All I have are pictures and videos. I watch them so meticulously trying to catch the dissatisfaction. Where did I fail as a woman, as a wife? I watch them remembering the emotion coursing through my veins as I stood in my kitchen or my dining room or my living room. As I stood in a place I used to call “home.” I watch them knowing we can never go back home. I watch them, wishing I could fall back into that one specific memory. The image captured on a phone. Back in my home. Back into the oblivious bliss of not knowing (304) 633- filth. Followed by more filth.
I watch the videos wishing I could take back the anger that followed. Some people will call it “the straw that broke the camel’s back”, others call it the “tipping point.” It doesn’t matter the proverbial language we use. The outcome came anyways. The outcome came, always the same.
Number pops up.
“Open your phone.”
Woman’s intuition filled my stomach. He’d taken the down the pre-screen where you could read a message months before.
I had to have known. How did I not know? Hiding. Sneaking. Lying. 3 a.m. is for replaying every minute up until the last few hate-filled, bitter, swallowing-my-heart-whole moments. The devastation I wonder if I will always have to carry forever in my heart?
3 a.m. is for wanting to yell, “Why didn’t you just tell me?!”
We’d always joked at those Dateline shows. We’d guess in the beginning of each episode, saying things like ‘the husband did it‘ or ‘the wife did it.’ We always promised each other. We always promised we’d just tell the other. The words: “I don’t love you anymore. I want to be with someone else. I want out. I found someone else. I just don’t want to be with you.”
I’m not sure the precise verbiage a person uses to say they want out of their marriage. I just wish we could have had honesty. I could have handled honesty. I could respect honesty. Fifteen years a partner, a lover, a mate, a friend, and I only got half a phone number filled with filth.
3 a.m. is for tears staining a cigarette smelling sweater. It’s for praying to God to please stop the burden bearing down on my heart. It’s for screaming on the inside and no sounds will come out. It’s the time I keep waiting for the rain to come and wash away sins. Make people anew. It’s for wanting to believe in miracles. But miracles are just that…
They are only miracles.
Instead, I have to hold the 3 a.m. hour for fearing the unknown. It’s for blaming and cursing, wailing and sobbing at the stars while dew sparkles on the still dark grass.
3 a.m. is for lonely. It’s for gut-wrenching true loneliness, because…
I’d found my mate. And he’s gone now. And half of myself went with him.
Half of me died with (304) 633- filth on a Tuesday night.