1:00 a.m. – continued
“Okay, people,” the elderly network head said from his wheelchair a half hour later, clapping his hands to get everyone’s attention. “That’s a wrap. Let’s get this show on the road. Everyone has someone to go home to, so you’d better get moving. All of you have been wonderful. We’re a great family here. Good night and good bye.”
The crew clapped as the old man wheeled himself away, his young lady assistant hurrying to catch up with the still spry man, her heels clicking on the floor. Slowly, the crew began to wrap things up. They hugged and kissed and clapped each other on the shoulder as they made their way out through the doors, leaving behind a mess that no one would clean up and no one would care about come tomorrow.
It was about a quarter to two in the morning when Callie slid into her car. She sighed and stuck her car key into the ignition. After spending a quiet moment staring at the studio building, she finally buckled up and turned on the car. A soft, soulful tune was playing from the radio as the car came to life. Tears filled her eyes as she looked at the studio building and her colleagues one last time. Cars were already pulling out of the lot, everyone anxious to get to their loved ones. Time was wasting. There was only so much time left in the world.
Luke honked and waved as he drove past. Callie smiled and waved back before pulling out of her space, wiping at her eyes as she did so.
The streets were quiet as she drove home, her thoughts heavy with reality. She knew Evan would probably be sleeping. She would crawl into bed and sleep for a few hours next to him, their last night to sleep cuddled together, his arms wrapped around her as they always did whenever she slid in next to him. The tears began to fall into her lap. She wanted more time with her husband, her family, but time was one thing they no longer had.
Callie turned onto her street and cruised by the houses with their neat yards, some houses with lights on and some off, listening to the occasional barking dog. The street lights glowed warmly and steadily. She would miss jogging down the street, sometimes with Jenna alongside her. She would miss waving good morning to her neighbors and scratching a dog under his chin. She would miss her daily life.
She turned into her driveway and turned off the car. She sat for a moment as two o’clock in the morning drew closer and closer. The windows of her house were dark. Abigail’s old room faced the street. She and Evan hadn’t changed it since she had left for college six years before. Their little girl hadn’t come home after that, having moved in with roommates in the city right after graduation. Callie was proud of her. Abigail was a bright journalist and had landed a job with the city’s newspaper. Journalism apparently ran in the family. Even Jenna wrote for the school newspaper and worked behind the cameras for the weekly school news cast, being too shy to be in front of the camera like her mother. To the left of Abigail’s window was Cooper’s. Her chest tightened as she thought of her lost son.
Shaking off her thoughts, Callie took a deep breath and got out of her car. She hurried up to the front door and fumbled with her key to unlock the door. She wanted every last second possible with her husband and children. Time was wasting. And she had already wasted precious seconds lost in her thoughts out in her car.
She hurriedly locked the door behind her, slipped out of her shoes, and dropped her things in a woven basket sitting on a small table she’d set up near the door. She quietly padded upstairs and slipped into the master bathroom to change and wash up. It was a couple of minutes to two when she finally slipped under the covers and curled up next to Evan. He smiled in his sleep and reached out to engulf her in his arms. She smiled and snuggled her head under his chin, just as she had every night for the past three months, ever since she and Luke had stayed later to do late night news casts to keep the insomniac viewers informed. She closed her eyes and drifted off to sleep for the last time, until the phone woke her.