My dad wakes up before the sun. He’s always been an early riser, even when I was little. Dawn would break and there he’d be, sitting on the sofa in the kitchen, enjoying the silence with the cat/dog/whatever animal we owned by his side (despite the fact he vehemently denies being an animal person). When I was little, I didn’t see my parents in the morning before they woke me, but I heard them. Each morning, I would stir at the tiniest sound, so I’d hear the clinking of their tea mugs and the rattle of the paper. Sometimes the tinny drone of the radio and my dad clearing his throat.
I had that moment the way other kids had scrambled eggs or a mam that turned their light on for them in the morning to coax them out of bed. And I never wanted the other. Mine felt like a privileged peek into Adult World. Mine felt like my parents watching over me even when I was sleeping.
But when I was little and I’d wake in the darkness of my cool room to hear the first stirrings of my dad down the hall; the news, the paper, the kettle boiling. I felt a safety so deep it set my bones. It’s alright now. The night is over. Dad’s awake.
He’s always done this, for as long as I can remember. Even if we ended up going to a gig together the night before. No matter what we got up to. There he was was anyway, in the early light of the morning, waiting for something. What does the morning bring for him? One of these days I’ll have to wake up early to find out.