From Sarah, With Joy

Writer querying two novels and some other word babies. I tend to effervesce.

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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

N is for Nighttime

Night is what has taught me the meaning of a love-hate relationship.

I love the moon and the stars more than the glare of the sun. I love black and blue yellow-flecked skylines of big cities. I love being the only one awake. Breezes feel so new in the dark. And nothing beats reading in bed with a quilt and a bed-lamp. 

I am terrified of the dark. I am terrified of being alone. I hate being the only one on the road between my parents house and mine. I hate the blackness of my room before I turn on my too-dim lamp and above all, hate the quietness that leaves me with nothing but empty space in my skull for panic to bounce around in.

That is when I want the sun back. That is when I miss any music or the voices in the show I was just watching and I crave someone with whom I can pillow-talk and decide for the umpteenth time I need a dog.

Nighttime is how I imagine Alaska--the best place to be hunkered down with your soul mate and the very worst place to be alone. Even when you can mask the dark and the quiet with lamps and reruns of Frasier there is still the necessary moment of turning it off. At that moment the TV power button is a hard one to press.

And while you're terrified and driving home alone there is Jim Dale reading you Harry Potter from your car speakers and the green light from the stoplight streaked across the asphalt when it rains. And you're still terrified and alone and it is still too dark and quiet but the moon is often full and that is enough to pull you forward. 

Then when you've made it past the drive home and the walking into a dark apartment and the brushing your teeth in silence and clutched your teddy bear to you and clicked off the last lamp then your heart rate finally begins to calm down and you are grateful for thick quilts that signal safety in darkness. One night feels like every night and perhaps that is what is the most terrifying, but as imminent as that fear is, you can relegate it to a realm outside your quilt, which is what quilts are made for. Quilts are boundaries between nations.

Eventually all nights merge in to one and a dream runs through it--maybe it's the nightmare about a swollen and scarred clan of face-eaters, maybe the fragmented image of a piglet pulling the wagon of Yosemite Sam, maybe it's your constant fantasizing about whether the next scene in your novel will or will not take place at a baseball game.

At night, it's hard to tell the difference.

5 comments:

  1. Hello, Sarah! This is a beautiful essay on the juxtapositions of night, the good and the bad, the scary unknown and the delightful. Thanks for sharing!

    Happy A to Z-ing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

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  2. Oooh...don't go visit Julie Flander's blog. All she's talking about this A to Z is Alaska. It'll probably scare you.

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  3. I am such a weenie when it comes to the dark.

    That being said, I do love to sit outside on a quiet night and just think. That's one of the luxuries of living in the south. Those nights happen often.

    Writing Through College

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  4. I miss quiet nights with spring peepers in the distance, and the occasional farm sound.

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  5. A wonderful essay. Reminds me of a night my husband and I spent drinking wine at some village wineries in the Czech Republic. We were somewhat inebriated when we finished, and we were regaled by our host with stories of vampires as we drove in the dark to a monastery to spend the night. Our imaginations just soared, especially on being greeted by a totally silent monk!

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