In The Dark
Remember that delicious walking, arms linked, down the middle of the gravel road in your pajamas at five in the morning when you were twelve? That first slumber party in your safe small town when you all stayed up all night for the first time in your lives? That eerie first sight of the sun coming up when your head had never hit a pillow since it went down?
You knew then for the first time the delicious pleasures of being a night owl— of finding time that everyone else was wasting through dreams. And you have been an aficionado of night ever since. All of your term papers and exams studied for at the last minute, all night long. Books written, poems written mostly in the dark while towns and cities around you slept. That power of having all of your time for yourself with not a chance of phones ringing. Some magic happening once you had the world to yourself so ever afterwards you have survived on as little sleep as possible.
During your party years, dancing and drinking till three, then going for breakfast with the single crowd and driving straight to school at six. You were invulnerable.
Even married, sneaking out of bed once he’d fallen asleep and working in your basement studio all night long, sometimes sneaking back to bed before he awakened, at other times caught. “It’s nine in the morning! Have you been up all night again?” Feeling that little terror, like a vampire caught by light.
Then at 54, with no more husband, no more job necessary, with a new country and a new studio above ground, guilty pleasures no longer needed to be hidden— watching light after light go out as you sat piecing art together in your studio—until suddenly,
impossibly, light after light went on again so you were going to bed as your neighbor was arising to start his day.
Then, improbably, at 62, internet romance entered your midnight-and-after world as
every night you were serenaded to sleep from 1500 miles away by an equally night-addicted lover bard at two or three or four a.m.— or whenever pillow talk led to it. Skype became your love letters and your trysting spot ––night swaddling that intimate invisible union through the dark air that had always been magic for you, but which now joined you to another instead of sending you into the single space where you united with that within you which you kept separate from the world.
Now as always, united or alone, at night you know exactly what it is you want and live it, with no busy world to lead you elsewhere.
This is a rewrite of an earlier response to this prompt, and here is yet another piece i wrote on this topic: https://judydykstrabrown.com/2015/06/25/re-tired/
And here is another one about waking up in the morning!: https://judydykstrabrown.com/2015/02/25/head-shots/
The prompt today was, “Are you a night owl or an early bird?