Sleepless

“So how’s working nights these last three months been going?” George asked.

“It’s okay. The night shift is slightly less stressful and as you know I worked nights nearly my entire time in the Air Force,” Pete answered.

“That’s right. So no big thing? No problems sleeping?”

“Nope, no problems sleeping,” Pete said. “Well, that’s not entirely true. Sometimes, if I discover something undesirable is happening that is out of my control right before bed then I lie awake thinking about how to regain control. And then I just watch the clock. That’s no fun.”

“Like what?”

“The home loan thing did it to me last time. I have no idea why I answered the phone, but I did and it proceeded to limit my sleep to about three hours out of eight that afternoon. Want to know what I thought about most of that time?”

“Sure. What?” George asked.

“Her.”

“Of course you thought about her. H- is your daughter and you miss her. Everyone knows that. That’s nothing to be worried about,” George conceded.

“Not her. Well, of course her, but her. H-‘s mother.”

“Oh.”

“Yep. It seemed as rational and logical as anything as I laid there. I was trying to solve the problem of not seeing H- as much as I think I should. And then it hit me. If we re-married, then I’d be able to see H- all the time. And you know that I hate that she has another male adult figure in her life besides me. So I started developing this whole scenario of what life would be like if I approached her mom and tried to make an argument for trying again. She’d have to lose the dogs of course. And quit her job. And do what I say. But man, it could be perfect.”

“Jesus Pete.”

“I know!” Pete retorted. “I know. That’s what I’m saying George. It was eight acres all over again.”

“Eight acres?”

“Yeah. You remember? The book I’m writing. It’s about how some of us seem to be fine living with unpleasantness in the present by simply imagining and dreaming about some ideal future that is only a few strokes of luck away.”

“Oh, yeah. I remember. You didn’t mention this to her while you were gone did you?”

“Of course I did. Ha. It’s a lot of alone time George.”

“Oh shit. What’d she say?”

“Not interested.”

“Well, considering her actions during the marriage and the divorce I’d say she just did you a favor Pete. It would’ve never worked. H- would’ve been the worse for it.”

“You’re right. You’re right. Even when I did bring it up, the fantasy had worn off a little and reality set in,” Pete conceded with an expression of sadness that was quickly erased by sincerity. “I just want to see H-.”

“Yep. We all do. Don’t worry so much. You’ll figure it out.”

“I hope so.”

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