It’s the night that I find most dreadful. When all the billboards peddling beer, and undressed women stop speeding by; when the frantic rhythm of footsteps slow, and the seemingly implacable ringing of telephones stop; when you stop looking ahead, while watching your back; when the air returns to your lungs, and breathes quiet into your mind; at the still, solitary, silent part of the day… that is when the knots return. The dizzying pace of the day so readily dispatches the angst in some deliberate calculation of this or that. The ever-present questions, always hurried; answered in halves because you haven’t the time to dumb it down for them. They make the perfect refuge from the stillness where the questions that haven’t even an answer in half wait patiently for your anguish. And you know they do. They wait for you.
You fill your cup, and fill it still to keep you always drinking; easy now to keep your mind from wandering there with so many little tasks to keep you at safe distance. But try as you may, the relief finds you, and suddenly you’re out of work. You’re out of work or too exhausted to keep going, and there it finds you. Defenseless. Unarmed. Vulnerable. You’re trickery is useless against the solitude of a quiet room; there’s no one there to fool. The bravado, and commanding presence lose their power when there is no one to challenge. What then, when it is your mind that is your foe?
The suspicion, the doubt, the ill-tempered and lonely thoughts that slowly pour over you, bringing such weight to your brow, and sorrow to your heart; like a heavy velvet drape as black as pitch. It is impossible to see through. The acrid smell of ash burns your lungs and stifles your breath; if only you could start again, restart the world at your command! Resume the frantic pace! Remind yourself that you forgot some critical assignment that mustn’t wait another moment for completion! Run! Run from that great emptiness; that insatiable void where the world is swallowed and some malevolent grace leaves you and your thoughts alone.
The pounding of your head and the murmurs in your chest are enough to make you ill, and you are ill, quite literally. Your panic stricken body lashes out in fits of shaking while the blackness still is creeping to the very core of you. “Is she sleeping?” Perhaps. “But in who’s bed,” you ask. The slowness of the clock seems ever slower as your labored breathing seems so fruitless, and you find yourself stifled; choked by the lowly insecurities that keep you up on nights like these. Longing -no- gasping for the sweet, cool air that only Her attention brings, you finally collapse to suffer all the more in dreams.
Yours in Contemplation,
Illustration by Kip A. Bauerfeld