The moon shone through the window with a pale silver light. It was sometime after midnight, but a few hours until dawn. Everyone in the room was asleep except Dean. He was still awake, tossing and turning in the freshly laundered sheets. He looked around the room at the blank walls and three other beds. Unable to fall asleep, Dean got out of bed and paced around on the solid oak floors. At the sound of the floor boards creaking, he put on his sneakers and pulled on a hoodie. It wasn’t hard to sneak out of the dorm room, he had done it before. Underneath his bed, Dean had a bottle of WD-40 which he kept for nights like tonight. Climbing up on the window sill, he took the bottle and sprayed the old hinges. The fumes from the spray wafted around his head and he silently coughed.
Once outside, he hid the spray under a bush and walked out on to the field. The grass was wet and slippery from the pervious day’s rain. Dean could smell the freshness everywhere. With his hood on and hands tucked in his pocket, he squeaked his way across the empty field and into the forest. The forest was silent except for the rain droplets that were still falling. There were only a few leaves on the ground —the ones who were picked off or fell due to the rain. The moon cast a silvery light through the trees. Dean took the path he always took when he couldn’t sleep. He wandered through the tress until he came to the patch of flowers that grew in the moonlight. The moonflowers were wide awake, casting their bright white light towards him. Dean noticed that the 4 o’clocks were starting to close their petals. It must be close to dawn, Dean thought. He didn’t care what time it was, he was grateful to walk alone through the silent forest.
He sat down on the roots of an old birch tree. From there, Dean could see the flowers and hear the river flowing to his left. The sound of the long-gone rain still resonated from time to time. The fresh bark of the old birch was velvety to his touch. The underside of his shoes were covered in heavy wet dirt. Dean took his shoes and socks off and let his bare feet rest on the cool ground. His toes curled in the dirt, picking up pieces of twigs and stones between his toes. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw a brown mass swoop from the top of an evergreen towards the ground and out of sight. Dean heard the sound of stomping feet coming closer to his tree. The deer must be as restless as I am tonight, he thought. As Dean heard them approach his flower patch, he retreated into the shadows, leaving behind his shoes and socks. While walking backwards, the heal of his right foot snapped a twig in two. The deer’s head rose to attention at once at the sound. The calming sound of the river changed into a loud, misshapen noise as the deer ran back to the other side.
The silvery light that illuminated the forest was slowly fading into a washed-out blue. Dean had forgotten about his shoes and socks as he walked towards the river. The sound had returned to its normal calming hum. He sat down on the river bank and dangled his feet into the icy water. Dean watched as the dirt that clung to his feet got carried away by the current. There were no fish in the small river, only rocks, leaves, and twigs. Dean tried to imagine what I would be like here, by the river, in the summer. He imagined striping down to his boxers and wading into the shallow river. The river looked deep enough for him to lay down on his back and be carried away by the current. He didn’t know where the river lead, but he would just happy to be alone.
The croaking of a frog brought him back to the present. Dean’s head wiped towards the sound and all he saw was a splash of water where the frog had disappeared to. Feeling his toes becoming numb, he walked back to the old birch tree to retrieve his shoes and socks. The moonflowers all around him gave off their final wave of their rich perfume as they closed their petals. His eyes started drooping with sleep as he sat back against the birch. For a moment, the forest around him was completely silent. It was the moment the sleeping arose and the everything else fell asleep.
Dean loved to rise in the early summer morn.