Friday, February 14, 2020

Valentines Day (the real deal)

I was chatting off and on with my insomniac friend last night via WhatsApp. She has not been feeling well lately. Stubborn flu. Nonetheless, at about 10 pm, she decided to clean house. 

"Sleep!" I said. 

"No. I must clean the house." 

"The house will be there tomorrow. Sleep now, clean tomorrow." 

"No. The house won't let me sleep if it's not clean." 

Hmm, that's strange. My house doesn't seem to give a damn. Or maybe it's just me who doesn't.

Anyway, she calls rather than texts at around 1130. I am in bed. All the lights except for the light in the kitchen are out. 

"Oh. Daddy sleeping." 

Yes, she calls me Daddy. Which is actually kind of nice, in an odd way. It's been a long time since anyone called me Daddy. Hmmm. My own son called me Dad, it's true, and never called me anything other than Dad, even as an adult. Three of my four stepchildren called me Bud, or Richard if they happened to be angry at me. The fourth, from yet another mother, has always called me Dad. But we seldom talk anymore. They are all busy with their own lives. And one of them is no longer with us. 

"No, I'm not sleeping," I croak, turning on my stomach so that I can lean on my elbows. "Just resting." 

"No, Daddy, sleep," she says. "Goodnight."
But of course I'm awake now. So I get up and stir up a cup of instant ginger hot drink (because I also have a bit of the flu), and then go outside to smoke a cigarette. The dog is asleep on the doorstep. He has no problem with sleeping. The temperature is still, absurdly, 30C. Somewhere around a million frogs are singing in the shallow water of the rice paddy across the road. 

When I head back to bed at around 1:00, I note that the date has changed. It is February 14th. Valentines Day. So I send a quick message to my friend in Borneo. Hey, Happy Valentines Day, Sweetie. I love you.

Within seconds, she responds. 

"Hah! Daddy salah (wrong). This is Thursday, February 13th." 



"Check your phone." 


In the morning, I find a electronic card, sent at about 4 am. 

Love never sleeps, I guess. Or rarely anyway. 

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