I wind down. I scribble some writing, scroll through Instagram, take one last sip of water.
I do a visual sweep of the room. Is anything amiss? Is anything rustling? No? Are you there? Good.
I lay back, pull the covers up to my chest, and close my eyes, trying to ignore the lamp that blazes next to me.
For the last two weeks, I haven’t made it through a night sans light.
There’s definitely a term for it— some phobia that means part of my brain isn’t firing or connecting the correct way. But honestly, it’s a fear from experience, not a case of the crazies. You would be afraid of the dark too, I’m sure of it.
When we lived in Indiana, we were in an old cinder block building, stuffy in the summer, overheated in the winter. When I moved in, with my boxes of magazines and suitcases of running shoes, his apartment was already cluttered, although fairly clean. It didn’t matter. The bugs still got in.
Usually you caught them in the kitchen. A big ole roach, scooting across the floor. I screamed every time, running into the next room and begging someone to kill it for me, quick, before he disappeared into the abyss.
But that summer, the second it got humid, they were out in full force.
I can’t quite remember exactly how it happened, but when the first cockroach showed up in our bed, I lost it. When the second one appeared, crawling over my legs under the blankets, I knew I was a goner. We didn’t sleep those nights, and it always happened around 1am— so there was a lot of night left to pass bleary eyed and disgusted, overturning piles of books and clean laundry, going over every inch of the room, looking looking looking for the culprit. We always found them, in the end. But two, three, four roaches crawled over our sleeping forms that summer and it scarred me more than anything else.
[Of course, during that time I heard a story on This American Life— a girl who lived in NYC woke up to a roach lodged in her ear. That didn’t help soothe my sleep-deprived mind.]
A few months ago, I woke to a cockroach scuttling over my magazines in a corner of my room. I got him, then freaked, dousing my apartment in enough Raid to poison myself. I haven’t seen anything since. But for some reason, returning after an extended trip away reignited that fear. Something was waiting for me in that apartment— I knew. I knew.
So maybe I’ll invest in some night lights or finally grow up and spend money on a proper bed, instead of sleeping on a mattress on the floor like a frat boy. “Bugs are attracted to light,” my teammate insisted. “Not roaches,” I replied. “They scatter when the light comes on.” And even if they weren’t affected by light, I could open my eyes and see immediately where they were.
There’s a vulnerability that comes from darkness.
Hello. It's me
“Hey!” I yell from my car window to the man sitting on the porch. “How are you?”
I got kicked off my porch today. Yeah, I know it sounds weird, me being kicked off my very own porch.
I move to get a better shot, and the bluebird thinks its funny.
i'm just sitting here in the late morning. the grass is green, but it's an overcast day and clouds are rolling fast. i suspect heavy rains by early afternoon, but the weather channel says there may be hail. it doesn't matter. i can get a few shots in before anything strikes. the event may actually be done by then. i'm not sure. i'm just sitting here right now all by myself. away from the crowd that hasn't shown up, just photographing anything i feel. there's birds and trees and lots of other little things to fill the space. it's just a simple process anymore, filling the void that is. there's even a thin river running by that's right over there. and here's my tree. i didn't see it at first. i'll admit my mind didn't see it at all. i just breezed right by, but as my thoughts were wondering in the spring air, my eyes keep coming back to the sensation standing right there. I just like this tree. it's magical. it's a wizard with hands flying around. but it can't seem to hold on to all of these great ideas. even if none are truly great, they're all its own, and it wants to share them with us -- you and i. so hold onto your seat. we're going for a ride. it's the day i met a magical tree.
The sun is shining. So I am writing.
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