The Night I Called You At 4 AM


Remember that night I called you at 4 a.m.? I called you so many times. Your phone was on silent, it always is, but somehow you woke up anyway. You know how mothers always seem to have an inexplicable instinct for when their child needs them, for when their baby is awake even when it doesn’t scream? That’s how I think about that night.

You picked up and I told you I was on some street in the 80s, I didn’t know exactly where. But you knew it meant I was lost in more ways than one. I rarely made it uptown, almost never unless I came to see you. Before I could even ask, you told me to come over.

I cried myself to sleep next to you that night. I cried myself to sleep because the guy from earlier whose name I had never asked for and whose face I can’t remember had been so nice to me. He even kissed me goodbye. One of those slow kisses, not just the courtesy peck. I almost cried when we fucked because he smiled just like my ex-boyfriend. People tell me that I have a way with words, but that night I couldn’t find any of them. Not with him and not with you. The difference is you understood.

But this isn’t about that guy who I met in some bar between shots of whatever. It’s about you. It’s a thank you. There are a thousand and one things I could thank you for—more, probably. Definitely. But I wouldn’t even know where to start, how to start. People who say I have a way with words really don’t know me very well.

Remember that night I called you at 4 a.m.? Even though I was crying, even though I felt lost and ashamed and knew that regret would inevitably set in, I felt loved too. I felt safe, so very not alone. That’s because of you.