Seated on the mattress, trying to listen to noises outside at four in the morning. Different kinds of noise. Cars and trucks going up and down Lincoln Highway. Semis putting on air brakes. A dog barked.
The windows were open. He liked the house to stay cold. Curtains blew in the breeze. He just sat there smoking a cigarette. A train went by in the distance.
He touched his right arm. Was he still alive? Wasn’t sure. The night felt different to him. Like somebody, or, some thing was watching him. Maybe a ghost. Maybe high school kids breaking curfew. Lights shined in on him through the window then kept on going down the road. Bright lights. Like they were looking for something.
The old man put his robe on and walked out to the front porch. Lit another Camel and then touched the wet grass with his bare feet. Flood lights flickered on and off. That damn dog was barking again. Finally the lights went out completely. Just dark. Pitch black. No cars coming. No diesels running through town. The moon shined brightly behind clouds. He used to catch it for his daughter when she was young. He’d reach up and grab it for her. That was a long time ago.
For old times sake, he tried to grab the moon. His right arm wouldn’t reach over his head. It’d been years since he tried to pull the moon down. Now it seemed impossible.
And he tried to pull the moon down with his left hand. That arm wouldn’t reach either. Stretched on his tippy toes. Couldn’t do it. Gave up when he saw the Sun coming up. Went back inside and made coffee. Stared at the phone.
He got his address book and looked up his daughter’s phone number. He wanted to call badly. Wasn’t sure what to say. He just let it ring until a voice answered. He paused and hung up. Just paused in silence and hung up. His day would soon begin.