I rubbed the sleep from my eyes for the third time that morning and finally dared to check my phone, close to dying for lack of a spare charger, to find that it was only a quarter to ten. Plenty of time. Rev’s radio alarm clock had been droning for a few hours now, faintly playing next to him in a futile effort to wake him up. After all, it hadn’t even been the thing to wake me up. My internal clock, unfortunately, just had the habit of doing that itself, burdening me with the curse of always being the first to wake up when I spent the night at someone’s house.
It didn’t matter either way. It was Saturday morning- the sort that sets the standard for your expectations of every other Saturday morning. The kind you remember for the rest of your life, only for how unmemorable it is.
Part of that was the soundtrack. That dull drone of the radio alarm clock cycled through the station’s 90s hour, the low volume only making the most prominent guitar riffs audible, the kind that you swear you’ve known for your whole life and think fondly of, even without having any particular memory tethered to them.
So I stretched out my arms out under me and rested my head in my folded hands, studied the boards that blended Rev’s walls into his ceiling before I decided I had to go to the restroom.
I stepped over Phil who had also won the prestigious spot on Rev’s floor for the night. The door creaked, the hinges in perpetual need of WD 40, despite the fact that we applied it every time we were at Rev’s house. It was the only household fix any of us were actually confident in, though none of us would admit that. Given the fact that his hinges always got creaky again, we really shouldn’t have taken as much pride in it as we did in the first place.
“Good morning,” Rev’s mom offered as I passed her in the hallway. I returned it, realizing that was all she had time to say. Rev’s mom was like a sasquatch in that she was rare to see, but had a hauntingly real presence in the life of my friend. I saw her just as much as Rev did and probably had just as deep a relationship as they did, but not in the charming way you see on TV. It spoke more to her apathy as a mother than my credit as a friend. Still, though, understanding that… It motivated me to stick with Rev regardless of how irrational he got about whatever, whenever he did. And he was irrational about much, often.
We nicknamed him Rev because of that. He was raised Methodist and had never missed a Sunday morning service. Hell or high water, he’d be there, though any other day of the week, he’d tell you how bogus the church was and could hardly tell you what the sermon covered ten minutes after it was given. But being there, that was important to him.
I went and laid back down where the carpet had already started to get cooler. I checked my phone again and found the battery at 5% just as she texted me. I remember my face lighting up in a way that was exactly as lazily sincere as that whole morning and following day would be. This was when texting was still something of a novelty, and she’d waited three days, the way that all the guys do in movies. Even so, it would lead to nothing more but casual conversation until my battery died before I could stupidly blurt out that I thought I loved her too soon.
Those guitar riffs played faintly in the background until Rev finally stirred of his own accord, woke Phil, and we actually got our day started: going to get donuts from the shop that was 20 minutes away, arriving just before noon, just before they closed because we knew they’d give us extra donut holes so they wouldn’t go to waste.
It felt like 4 PM already, and it would for the rest of the day until the sun cast the sky in a dark orange, that shade you can feel in your pores, for an hour and a half before finally going out. And even though the radio in Rev’s car started playing the more modern auto-tuned stuff, it all sounded like those muffled anthems of rubbing sleep from your eyes.
My parents would get mad at me for letting my phone die without calling.
Phil would spend an hour in the used bookstore, deciding which copy of Brave New World he wanted to get before deciding he didn’t want either, but would instead buy a pack of cigarettes.
She would get my reply seven hours later than she expected when I finally got my phone back on a charger, but make no mention of the delay when we resumed the conversation.
I would wake up the next week, slogging through the final days of my last year in high school, hoping that each Saturday I could get extra donut holes and listen to the radio so softly I had to guess what song I was really hearing.
And Rev would wake up in the morning and forget everything else around him for an hour and a half because he didn’t know what else there was to do on a Sunday.