A Glass Window
Screaming, I woke up frantically searching for the lamp at my bedside table. My hands fumbled around until I found the familiar switch, and I looked down to see my palms sweating. Tonight was another torturous night plagued with the same nightmare that had been haunting me for years- darkness.
Most people I know complain of nightmares involving falling, being chased, or fighting with something or someone. Dreaming of “black” is a normal occurrence for people and for the most part they don’t seem to mind. I, on the contrary, do mine. A lot. This of course means my nightmares have always involved a darkness blacker than a night without the moon. I guess, there is a reason for the moon and the stars- even nature is opposed to darkness .
Looking around and reveling in the beauty of light, my heart calmed down and my breathing slowly returned to normal. Since I was already awake, I decided a warm glass of milk would be just the thing I needed, and made my way to the kitchen. As I walked down the narrow hallway, the lights suddenly turned off, and my bedroom door closed with a loud thud. Immediately, I started angrily flipping the switch of the hallway lights to no avail. Using my hands as guides I began running towards the kitchen in an almost state of panic. Taking three deep, calming breaths I slowed my wild gait, and resumed walking towards the kitchen in a more composed manner. After all, it was probably a power outage, really nothing to worry about. The slamming door was creepy, though- better not think about that. After minutes of searching for the kitchen, I realized that I should have found it already.
I stopped walking. Something had changed. There was nothing but silence now, not even the faintest sound of air could be heard. Reaching my arms out to the sides, I could feel nothing where the walls of my hallway should have been. Fear trickled down my spine and traveled to every extent of my body. There was no point in running, there was nothing around me but darkness.
“Is anybody here?”, I called out. My voice barely came out, and for all my effort, I was met only with silence.
There was no escape, no redeeming moon, nothing. I crouched down, put my head between my knees, and willed it to all go away, but this was no dream I could wake up from- it was real.
What felt like millennia passed until I could raise my head again, but just like before, only darkness met my gaze.
“What are you afraid of?”, a voice suddenly asked. It was a nice, melodic voice, much like a child’s.
I jumped, startled. Voice unsteady, I whispered, “Darkness”.
“What is darkness?”, it responded.
“What is your name?”, I asked, “What do you want from me?”. This was not good. Now a voice I couldn’t see was talking to me.
Nothing, only darkness met my questions. Tears started to fall down my face, and I was beginning to see no end to this hell. Rocking back and forth, I wept loudly and shamelessly. After awhile, I answered,
“I guess darkness is the absence of light”.
“What is light?”, it asked.
Are you kidding me? I was stuck answering questions to some kid I couldn’t even see, much less begin to fathom where had from, all the while having my nightmare turn to reality. Why is this happening to me? Am I dead? I must be.
“Well then, light would be the absence of darkness”, I answered. Silence.
“It is seeing, understanding, happiness. It is reality. It is what I want”, I added.
“Do you need light to see, to understand?”, the voice asked after a while.
“Yes, there is no way to understand what you don’t see, and no way to see without light, kid”. Why am I listening to her again?
“Not everything that can be understood can be seen, and not everything that can be seen can be seen with light”.
Exasperated, I asked, “Then what can be seen without light?”.
Only darkness answered. This cannot be happening. What can be seen without light?
“What? Darkness? Okay then, what is darkness?, I asked.
Silence again. The initial fear had disappeared and annoyance had taken its place. Now, I have to redefine darkness in terms I can’t see.
“What is darkness?”, I asked again.
“Look around, what do you see?”
“What is in that nothing?”
“Nothing”, I was tempted to answer, but kept my mouth shut. My eyes searched again, but only blackness met my stare. There was literally nothing.
“What are you afraid of?”, the voice asked again.
“Nothing”, I answered this time.
“What is in that nothing?”, it asked again.
“Nothing. There is nothing. Only me.”
My eyes opened, and with a jerk I sat up. I looked around and felt the smooth sheets under my hands. Breathing heavily, I squinted and looked out the window to see the light typical of a bright, sunny day. Standing up, I went to the window to catch a clear view of the outside, and begin my day relaxed. As I got closer to the window, however, the sunlight was too strong, and nothing but my own reflection could be seen in the gleaming glass.