Across the stippled ceiling, the shadows you know at 4 a.m. will not remain. The thoughts that visit, the ones pulling you from questionable slumber, will only leave a slight stain, but not enough to ruin the fabric. The damage has already been done, it’s loneliness now. The bed is empty and assigning blame at this hour is unnecessary, and pointless. Morning’s light will know no lesson. The past has provided experience, if not direction, and it should serve you well, but there is no going back. Not now. Show no remorse. Wake up. Step forward. Breathe. There is no other option worth considering. Today arrives, well rested or not. j.g.l.