I rode back to school wallowing in my gloom.  I lurched along, a zombie looking for a brain, the ability to think clearly.  But I was stuck in dark broodings.  I sat at the very back of the city bus that led to the school, slumping against my seat.  I felt lost.  I sat, staring at my navy blue sneakers, noticing that the right one’s toe was wearing through. 

            And then God spoke to me on the bus.

            This girl in a red coat came towards me from a seat further up the bus.  A ray of sunlight came from behind my seat through the western window, and its radiance lit up her face.

            “It suddenly came upon my heart that I should tell you, Jesus loves you.  I’ll be praying for you tonight.”  The girl smiled softly, and then got off the bus at the next stop.

            I would never see her again, but her words somehow awakened me.  I felt lighter, and when I got back to campus I found a tree to sit under while the sun went down and night approached.

Nightlight

 

Children fear the night.

The coming of darkness brings them visions of monsters.

Only when a nightlight watches over them can they sleep.

They do not trust the gloom and this is a mistake.

The night is trustworthy.

How many stolen kisses have the stars seen?

How many lovers walked under a benevolent moon?

The night will never tell.

The night hides the secrets the day reveals.

Only by the light of day can you tell the difference between rich and poor.

There is only one colour in the dark.

In the dark we all look the same.

The day separates everything and everyone.

It makes things distinct, contrasting light and dark.

The sun demands to be seen the moment it is in the sky.

It expects to be noticed, and in its light everything else is noticed too.

Nothing is safe in the light.

Everything is exposed, every strength and every flaw.

But the dark wraps us in a blanket, comforts and conceals.

It demands nothing, expects nothing, for it is nothing.

Darkness is not a thing, so it cannot be a thing to fear.

Darkness is the absence of light, and night is the absence of day.

Yet, what wonders revealed during absence?

The stars, the secrets, the loves that can only be seen at night!

I need no nightlight for protection,

The intrusion of brightness would chase away the wonder.

I sleep easier knowing that the darkness is there.

The twilight gloom protects all I love.

The night is trustworthy.

It guards my dreams and I tell it my secrets.

All the things hidden during the day,

The night knows and it will never tell.

I lay in the cool grass looking up at the stars, feeling the wind as it raced across the field, flicking over me.  Off in the distance were the school buildings and the two dormitories, and trees on the edges of the field.  But lying here, looking up at the sparkling black velvet night sky, it was easy to believe I was alone in the world.  Out here I could breathe.

            Everything that moves is vibrating, and vibration causes sound.  Even stars have their own radio signals.  Sometimes, alone in the night, I could believe I heard them singing.  With the peace that came in solitude, sometimes I could find my own heart-song.  The whole universe would have harmony, broken into discord only when other people arrived.

            Sooner or later, however, I would have to go back inside.  Once I had breathed in enough cool, soothing night air, once I had listened to my silent song long enough, I would return to the chaos of student life.  I sat up in the grass, sliding my green hood off my head.  I brushed grass off my jeans and stood, heading back towards my residence. 

            When I reached the glass doors leading into the lobby, I could see a few cars pulling up on the other side.  The lobby had doors to either side of the building, the field on one and a road through campus on the other.  From inside the lobby I could see Teri grabbing her bag from one of the cars.  Apparently she had returned to school.

            “Hey, Ethan!”  She said cheerfully as she came into the building.

            “Hi, Teri.  Dan will be glad to have you back.”

            “Have you seen him?”

            “I think so, earlier.  I could go tell him you’re back, if you want to drop your stuff in your room.”

            “Thanks!”  She smiled, and we headed upstairs.  I went into the second floor house towards my room, and Dan’s, while Teri went up to her house on the third.

            As I turned the corner of the hallway I saw Dan in the distance, talking to a girl in the corridor outside his room.  I walked closer, as his room was at the far end.  I couldn’t really see who she was.  My room was in the middle of the hall, two doors down from the shared bathroom.  By the time I reached my own door I knew that the girl he was with was Melody.  They went into his room together and closed the door.

            I walked down the hall slowly.  I reached Dan’s door, and could see from the bottom that the lights were off inside.  I knocked on Evan’s door instead.

            “Hey, Ethan.”  Evan said, opening the door.  “What’s up?”

            “Have you seen Dan lately?  Teri just got back and asked me to see if he was around, but his door is closed and his lights are off.”

            “He was here a little while ago.”  Evan shrugged.  “We were talking, and then I had a phone call.  I guess he left during that.  Maybe he went down to the common room?”

            “I don’t think so.  I passed it on my way down.  He probably took the side stairs to see someone, or maybe he went outside.”

            Teri was coming down the hallway.  I felt my stomach lurch in my stomach.

            “Hi, Evan!”

            “Welcome back, Teri.”  He smiled.

            “Is Dan around?”

            “We were just wondering that.”  I said.  “His door is closed, and lights are out.  We thought maybe he stepped out.”

            I didn’t know what else to say.  Daniel was supposed to be my friend, and you’re supposed to show loyalty to friends.  But I strongly suspected he was doing more with Melody than just talking, and that meant he wasn’t really worth sticking up for.  But then, church taught that you’re supposed to forgive people and help them do the right thing.  I couldn’t figure out my responsibility.

            “Ethan, you okay?”  Evan asked.

            “Hmm?  What’s that?”

            “You seemed lost in the clouds for a second.” Teri giggled.

            “Sorry.” I felt sheepish.

            “I’m just going to check his room.” Teri said.

            I felt my guts churn as she turned the handle on his door.  It opened, and she peeked inside.  Then she closed the door.

            “I guess he’s still in the building.  His door’s unlocked.”  She grinned.  “Maybe I can still surprise him.  I’ll check with Jon.  If he shows up here, let me know so I can drop in, okay?”

            “No problem.” Evan agreed.

            I nodded, trying to breathe again.  Teri headed off down the hallway.

            I wondered why I was trying to protect someone who was willing to hurt an innocent girl that only wanted to care about him.  I wondered why I was a friend to such a jerk.

<<Previous   Next>>

Advertisements