2.37 AM, Jerry sat alone on his balcony. He was in total darkness except for the red burning tip of his cigarette; glowing in the night. He wondered if anyone could see him, sitting alone smoking at this ungodly hour of the morning. He imagined a sniper waiting, steadying the gun, ready for Jerry’s third drag before firing the bullet that would release his pain. But there was no sniper and no blessed relief.
The rain hammered down on the roof above him and on the garden below but it wasn’t the weather that kept him awake; it was the headache that prevented sleep. On days like these Jerry wanted to rub Ibuprofen gel into his skull to see if he could kill the pain in his brain. But he knew he couldn’t, and he knew it wouldn't.
The stupid thing was he had a wonderful wife, two beautiful kids, and a great job that most would die for, so why the pain? Why the loneliness? Why the desperation?
Just then something caught Jerry’s eye, two glints of light, in garden below. He looked closer and saw the outline of a cat who, despite being drenched, was walking proudly down the path; a real stray cat strut. Jerry nearly smiled as he took one last drag. He wished he could have that arrogance, that confidence, that ability to deal with adversity. He wished he could be feline. As the cat disappeared Jerry yawned, stubbed out his cigarette, quietly opened the balcony door and climbed back into bed next to his wife, hoping sleep would come before the alarm clock.