|Like many people, I harbor a secret desire to write; I mean really write, with vivid imagery, foreshadowing, and all that good stuff. So instead of the typical I-did-this-then-this post, I wanted to try something new. Please bear with me.
It wasn't the sound that woke him from his slumber, a tame noise that easily faded into the background, but it was the first conscious recognition that he had. Before even opening his eyes, he started to wonder what the source of the sound might be. His thought process, uncommonly clear at so early an hour–a trait he silently thanked his ancestors for daily–led him first to think about location, which was an interesting detour in itself.
Four consecutive nights and four different pillows on which he has rested his head; lately not so uncommon an occurrence. For the past couple of years, he spent less than half his nights at home, in his childhood twin bed tucked in his mother's garage. The other half had him either watching other people's houses as a housesitter, one of his many somewhat unlikely "careers", or on the road. Currently he was at the tail end of a 6 week jaunt through the northeastern United States, having successfully accomplished the goal of seeing old friends. This was his last stop.
He mentally laid out the previous 4 nights. Thursday was a freshly carpeted floor in midtown Manhattan. Friday was a couch in a quintessentially Maine apartment–slanted ceilings, old wood floors, and more character than an entire suburban development combined–in Portland. Saturday night he closed his eyes in upstate New York and opened them in Ohio, with the comforting clatter of the rail line to keep him lulled in semi-sleep. Last night was, that's right, Chicago again.
With his location established, he reluctantly opened his eyes to further pursue the sound. A quick check of his watch, held approximately 3 inches from his face, offered the final clue: 7:00am. The shower. His host getting ready to head off to work. While he could stay tucked in his sleeping bag for a couple more hours–both because he was still recovering from the magical yet incomplete sleep from the train and because he had nothing at all planned for the day–he knew getting up to chat was the courteous thing to do. He learned from experience that folks offering their homes out of the goodness of their hearts don't take kindly to having the fact that they have to run off to work while their guest gets to lounge about all day rubbed in their face. Plus, he could always lie back down later.