It’s in the late summer that the nights are like this, quiet with crickets. When we came out from Boston, some of my old friends emailed me with worries and asked, “How are you? Are you OK?” Like I had gone to the moon. And sometimes I felt like I had, lying there, sleepless, wondering, looking up at the ceiling, while Erik slept. The sun comes up late now. The days still seem long, but that’s because the light’s been stolen from the mornings. Even the birds sleep later, quiet then in the trees around the house. At five in the morning it’s dark. It was just me and the crickets, the soft and steady hiss of crickets.
People asked me, “How can you stand it?” But on nights like this, that was the easy part. Even if I couldn’t sleep, the crickets made a peaceful sound. No carhorns yelling at echoing up through the narrow streets from blocks away. No sounds of yelling as the bars close, women yelling especially, and you wonder if you should get up and make sure no one is in trouble out the front window. Or cracks and pops that you can’t quite tell what they were but you can’t go back to sleep because you’re not sure if they were guns, and if they were guns how far away. We’re so far away from anything, you don’t even hear traffic on the east-west highway. Nobody comes through here, which is why my friends were so worried. But as I lay there and listened to the crickets, it’s also why I knew that it was loss traded for something worthwhile. I didn’t have to go to the front window wondering if a bullet might crash through it into Leah’s room. She was somewhere safe now. She would be OK here. The crickets told me that.