Fumbling in the dark, I open and close four different drawers to get to the clothes I’ll wear in the morning. Each drawer makes a raspy sound upon opening, gives a thick clunk as I try to shut it quietly.
Still in bed, he flips over. It would annoy me to be awakened by those sounds first thing every morning. The anticipated rssssp-clunk-rssssp-clunk- rssssp-clunk-rssssp-clunk in the dark of each new day would drive me crazy. He’s never said anything about it. He must not mind.
I creep to the closet and flip the switch. Light floods the small space and I grab a sweatshirt, a pair of pants, and flick the light off. His snooze time is up – the alarm buzzes for attention.
Quickly, I get dressed, brush my teeth. He stumbles into the bathroom to do the same. He reaches around me for his own clothes. They are on the side of the tub; he always puts them there the night before. His habit is to prepare; mine is to rssssp-clunk my way through the dark.
Morning, we say. Neither is fully awake. The light is glaring; we are squinting.
I’m still in that half-asleep phase of waking where interrupted dreams still take over much of the brain’s attention. As I brush my hair I replay the last scene, where I climbed through a dark men’s prison dormitory up dirty, plastic stairs, trying hard not to wake inmates while making my way through a maze of passages and narrow hallways that made up their sleeping spaces. The stench of sleep and sweat and uncleanness there is somehow still in my nostrils.
Why am I always lost in my dreams, trying to find my way out? Meandering through potentially dangerous places is a common theme. My dream-self takes a lot of risks.
Finished with our toilettes, one of us turns off the light. We plunge into darkness again, but only for a second. He flips another light on to grab something, then flips it off. I do the same. What follows is a popcorn of light-dark-light-dark-light-dark all the way downstairs.
I find him in the kitchen, overhead light harsh in its singleness. I flip two more on, knowing that the lights he needs to get out the door will be turned off very soon. When he leaves, I sit at the table and press the power button on my in-need-of-a-replacement laptop. It hums to life lazily, the screen’s glow adding to the existing illumination.
The kids wake eventually, each of them with their own rhythm of light-dark. As they move through the next hour before catching the bus to school, the sun rises and asserts itself on the horizon. Sometimes I am called to the window to share in witnessing the pinks, purples, oranges, and yellows just above the rooftops of our neighbors’ homes.
They leave. It is a cloudless morning; we don’t need the artificial lights now. I turn them all off.
Prompt #1: Write a blog post inspired by the word light.