I wake up in the middle of the night to the sound of my father talking.
“No, no,” he says. “You’re doing the right thing.”
I rise from bed, pad down the long hallway between the bedrooms and the living room. On the other end of the trailer, my father is standing in the kitchen. Back to me, elbows on the counter, the phone is cradled between his ear and shoulder. He is staring out the window at the front, staring out into the dark, silent street.
I rub my eyes.
There is a sad overtone to this time of night. A person could suddenly realize that he is the only person on the planet.
“Absolutely,” he says. “All of us, man.” My dad goes into the fridge, pulls out a beer.
He covers the mouthpiece of the phone as he pops the tab on the can.
“The thing is,” he says, “is that we are never alone. The help is there. But yeah, it’s asking, right? The salvation lies in the asking.”
He takes a long drink, sets the can down quietly.
“I agree 100%,” he says. “And all I’m asking is that you stop hurting yourself, can you do that? Just for tonight?”
There is silence.
“Look,” he says, “Can you do me a favor? You got somewhere to lie down? Yeah, take the phone with you. Just lie down.” There is silence. “No, I’m still here.”
I close my eyes, sway softly in the darkness.
“You’re right. We’re alone. All of us, alone – until we reach out. You reached out, and I’m proud of you.”
My father jumps up on the counter. The phone, after all, won’t reach to a chair.
I press my back to the wall.
“You promise?” he says. “You just fell off the wagon, that’s all. You promise to come in in the morning?”
The trailer is absolutely still.
“No, thank you, man.”
There is a pause.
“Yep. I’m going to stay here until you fall asleep. ”
The cat walks by, winds his way around my ankles. I bend down, scratch between his war-torn ears.
“Don’t worry,” my dad says. “Everything’s going to be all right.”