early in the evening, walking briskly from room to room along the white and gray marble floors, my mother swept in like a tropical storm, turning on all the lights of the house. my childhood is pock-marked with memories of lights coming on, small flickers of doubt before brightness erupted from the bulbs, which always seemed so much smaller in the darkness. illuminated there, left alone as she moved forward to continue her quest, I sat pondering the change of ambiance. as the sun had departed, leaving the sky a dulled and quickly darkening cobalt blue, the room had grown quieter. softly, the crickets had started to call out, rubbing their legs in defiance of the emptiness that seemed almost omnipotent in the desert. the humidity had been gone for months, and still, in the little patches of shrubby grass (Indigofera spinosa) that had persevered despite the withering flowers, the crickets had kept themselves alive. it had gotten harder to stay inside the lines with my crayons, but... crayons were impossible to color well with, anyhow. and creativity should never be bottled within the confines of lines, no matter what the cost.
the light destroyed everything.
there was a fleeting moment just after the click of the lamp switch where I instinctively wanted to run for the disturbance and smack it, drenching the room in a swath of gray once again, returning my personal sky to its natural state. but, for whatever reason had been impressed upon by society and the education of the British private school system, I remained still.
"You're going to go blind if you keep straining your eyes like that." my mother's voice was critical, but tender. the cricket outside the living room window stopped chirping. I nodded, and she walked on, high heels echoing down the hallway as she found the switch in the kitch pantry, and clicked it on.
Wednesday. Woden's day. In French, Wednesday is called Mercredi. In Spanish, Miércoles. A modern and tangible referce to the Roman god Mercury, a fleet-footed messenger whose swiftness would become his trademark. Last Wednesday, however, the night dragged on.
The incidents which befell half a week ago sit fresh in my mind, like a ribbon around my finger, reminding me to be strong. Odd that it is in the face of weakness and utter desperation that I find my greatest clarity and strength of mind. A close friend of the Better Half burst into the darkened room, and unloaded the burdens of his day like a freight train. It was blinding. I listened from the upstairs balcony as he spoke of the discovery of his birth mother, having located her and finding a phone number, finally building the courage to call, and crumbling beneath the words she spoke through the phone to him. Broken cadence and retched sobs conveyed a scenario of denial, the admittance of an attempted abortion, failure, birth, desertion in a trailor in Las Vegas. An infant with no food or water for five days. A young man torn sobbing on a sofa. The tortured past of two lives coming together to form one soul who dared to question his history. And the devastation which ensued once the truth was known.
"Wednesday's Child is full of woe". His heart was screaming. I laid on my belly and sighed through the vengeful conclusions he chanted over and over, like some sort of doorway that might take him by the hand and lead him from this place. Two bottles of wine had failed to make him forget, and the hurt had kept him from sleep. It was callous perhaps, but my thouhts drifted to times where the sounds of my sobs conveyed the same sort of helpless desperation. And I was repulsed. I stayed upstairs, and let the situation settle on its own. But the damage had been done, and my mind stayed in the darkened living room for the next few days. Whether or not I go through with my previously formed plans to make him the proud owner of a creature which would look up to him is teetering nervously on the brink of desertion. Not as abandoned, though, as trailor in heat of Las Vegas.
The Bible tells us that on Wednesday, the Sun and the Moon were created. Perhaps the birth of a child on the brink of the New Year can be thought of as a dawning. When the Sun and Moon come together, after all, the day is either at dawn or dusk. Let us hope, for all our sakes, that the darkest part of the night has already passed.
These days, I am the one who turns on the lights.