After a while, a light appeared under the crack in my door, and I knew my dad was getting ready for his early shift at the plant. I knew he would be coming in to check on me before he left, so I sat up in bed to get ready for him.
Dad creaked open the door, saw me sitting up, and just stood there. So I waved at him.
He came in and said that he was confused as to why I was sitting up in bed. I told him I couldn't sleep, and he understood.
Then he pointed my attention to the window, where the sky was just beginning to lighten over the Clemans' house. He told me to listen to the birds. They were chirping like crazy.
"The birds always start chirping before the sun comes up," he said. "So when you hear them going nuts like this, that means morning is coming soon."
Then he left to finish getting ready for work, and I lay back down in bed. My eyes grew heavy, and I drifted off as the sun began to rise.
Now, more than 20 years later, I still occasionally wake up just before the crack of dawn with nothing to do but watch the minutes crawl by on the clock. When that happens, I listen for the birds and try to hear them chirping.