The world looks a weird place at 3am. Well, okay. Maybe “looks” is the wrong word — because it looks the same, just darker.
But it certainly sounds different. The city hasn’t woken up yet; the train has not yet rumbled past. Birds have not started chirping. The occasional croaking frog can be heard, along with crickets and other manner of insect (including this mosquito annoying the crap out of me). But apart from that, silence. Everyone and everything around me seems to be asleep.
My mind does funny things at this hour. It recalls conversations I had and didn’t have; things I said, should’ve said or didn’t say. It make me think on the stupid things I’ve done in the past (my brain can never remember the good things in this silence — weird, right?) and the people I might or might not have hurt in the process of doing those stupid things. Without the distraction of the hustle and bustle and distraction of the world around me, my mind wonders into strange dark corners.
Oh, look, it’s 3.01am now.
I cry when I fly long distances. Every time. Not Cape Town to Joburg, or anything like that. But long haul flights. Last time I did a long flight, Jozi to Tanzania, I remembered watching the Migration with my dad — and now I’d be there, with him not around to share in it with me (not even living it vicariously through me). Weird thought, right, as two ladies chat excitedly next to me as they make their way home.
You know, I’m not one of those people who talks on a flight, even when I’m traveling with someone I know. I force myself into silence. And maybe that’s why I cry on flights (Jhb-Dar was not a once-off; I cried on the flights to UK and Europe (more than once) and to Taiwan).
Oh, look, it’s 3.15am now.
Midnight to 3am — the “witching hours”. Even Hamlet thought that this was a weird time of the day:
‘Tis now the very witching time of night,When churchyards yawn and hell itself breathes outContagion to this world. Now could I drink hot bloodAnd do such bitter business as the bitter dayWould quake to look on. Soft, now to my mother.—O heart, lose not thy nature, let not everThe soul of Nero enter this firm bosom.Let me be cruel, not unnatural.— Hamlet