Monday, November 1, 2010

A Soliloquy on the Night


[I got thinking about how night time evolves during the course of a human life, and how it holds different degrees of emotion, depending on the time in one's life it corresponds to.]

Night.
When a small child falls asleep to the sound of the Big People drinking in the living room, waking later to empty silence, creeping out of bed and down the hall to wander through the empty rooms, finding herself alone, except for the monsters waiting for her under the bed.

Night.
When the twelve year old lies shaking with fear in bed, listening to the yells and curses, blows and crashes. Only now the fear is worse; now she knows who the monsters are. Now, when silence falls, she worries that one of her parents might be dead, and that the wrong one might be left alive.

Night.
When the young wife stares into the lonely dark, realizing her marriage is nothing like the marriage of her dreams, that she is, in fact, more alone now than she ever was.

Night.
When the baby wakes, and the young mother takes it to her breast, watching out the window, waiting for daybreak, cocooned in a warm, sweet world of two, her heart full with finally, finally having someone to really love.

Night.
When the husband furiously harrangues, night after night, into the early hours: her lacks, her faults, his needs not being met, what-is-it-that-you-want, what's wrong with you?

Night.
When he finally leaves,  she regains her freedom, and nights are silent once more.

Night.
When she discovers what love between a man and woman can be. Night of ecstasy.

Night.
When he leaves too, because she has children and he has to be free, and besides, he has two new girlfriends now. But thanks, and here's one tear, for remembering.

Night.
Of despair. Of despair. The long night of the heart, when it is frozen, asleep, refusing to be roused.

Night.
That one keeps waking from, because one must. And because, over time, the rosy sunrise keeps on winning, until she awakens to a new day of hope.

Many, many nights.
Till the heart comes home to a place of fullness where there is no pain. Aware that the world is full of weeping, hungry, frightened and abused children, angry, drunken adults, heartbreak, and danger in the night. But believes more in the way the world wakes fresh and brand new every morning, with the chance to do things better, and builds a life on that.

One of the kindest things that age does is take the night, once a time of fear and pain, loneliness and yearning, and turn it into a kind friend, who pulls the covers up over our shoulders and bids us rest.

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