I had a self-imposed bedtime as a child. More often than not, as the night progressed, I would inform my mother that I was going to sleep, before brushing my teeth and crawling in bed.
Despite this, one of my most distinct memories from childhood was the first time I stayed up all night. I was seven and spending the night at my grandma’s house with two of my cousins, Eli and Ethan, who were seven and five, respectively. We played out the normal night-time routine, an attempt to convince Grandma that nothing was up. Both of them dozed off as Annie lit up the dark room, but they both woke up as the yellow credits flash across the black screen. We crept downstairs, pushing together coffee tables and chairs to make a fort in the low-light of the living room. Huddled under blankets, propped up on pillows, we spent the rest of the evening watching Spongebob Squarepants and applauding ourselves for staying awake. When picking me up the next day, Mom mentioned that I was rather crabby and in a tired haze I refused to tell her we hadn’t gone to sleep.
Other than that singularity, my sleep schedule has been routine. It has adjusted itself slightly for pre-teen yes I’m going to sleep in on the weekends for a little too long and occasional late-night homework sessions; yet, even in college, I purposefully make an effort to be asleep before midnight. In a parallel structure to that childhood memory, some of my most distinct memories at Puget Sound have been when I’ve broken that quota.
Standing under an overhang, dreading the late-night rain, and talking with Nick, a group of girls wandering to the Cellar looked at us and said, “You guys are such a cute couple. Just kidding, you’re probably brother and sister.” Sitting in the piano lounge, listening to Carley play, a group walking past began dancing and gave her a round of applause. Curling up on a couch and helping Emily sketch out a poem on a crumpled napkin. Priorities seem to shift as night progresses and personalities reflect that.
I’m more open, more honest, late at night. Willing to talk for hours, because at first we were in the Cellar and then it closed and it’s four a.m. and we’re still awake, sitting in an upstairs booth at the sub. Bright lights reflect off the white-washed wooden ceiling and the only other people present were downstairs cleaning. In the faint background noise of vacuums, I could see the reflection of my face in the dark of the window. I slumped down further in my seat while the clock ticked, but I didn’t leave, didn’t want to. And I don’t even remember what we talked about. It could have been nothing, but I’m inclined to think it was everything.