Nights are always the same, everywhere. There are the stars, the sticky shrouds of mist, the twinkling fluorescent lights and the forlorn homeless by the corner of the pavement. There is the laughter of the young, the heavy sighs of those in love, the furtive moves of preying players and the catwalk of the jewel thief.
But, here, from the forty-third, the night is just a tad different. The glass darkens with the setting sun into a curious stream of cars crawling south and slowly dissipates into an inky mirror. I stand, surveying my terrain – the beetles angling along the freeways, the spiders hanging on the outside. Suddenly, my terrain lashes at me, questioning my glance. I feel naked, terrified to be alone. A position of strength becomes a vulnerable backdrop for insane violence. The shrillness of the fire engines as they whistle by, bustling towards one less lucky than I, only confirms my fears.
I draw back, startled.
The moon, half caked in a muddy shadow, shirks away from the light, shrinking under the weight of the responsibility of illuminating the world in the absence of the sun. The stars attempt at humouring her back into the fold, knowing their existence hangs by a thread. If she sleeps, they will die with her.
It’s raining now. The tears lash against the glass, and the asphalt – pin pricks of emotion knocking at the heart of the city. The sky ricochets from tower to tower, laying bare patches of darkness for all to see. The anger thuds onto my beige carpeted earth, threatening me with its lightning fist.
It will take fifteen nights of persistence for the stars to woo the moon back into revealing the full beauty of her face. They will look forward to that night, whispering secretly to each other on catching a further glimpse of her features every night.
I sit down. Awaiting the worst. Looking forward to the best.
And, then, when that night finally comes, they will recoil in horror at the sight of her pock-marked face. Ah! The irony of it! She will stand as a fallen woman, ugly in her nakedness, surrounded by the twinkling stardust of lust all around her.
The storm will pass soon, the television informs me, and the worst is over. There are no uprooted trees to pay tribute, no flailing cable lines to bear witness. The wrath of nature has come, and will be gone, and there will be no appeasing sacrifices. No trophies to honor the valiant.
“It is the night – the hour of danger, of flight and deceit, of superstition and intrigue. I should be afraid.
“It IS the night – the time for love and longing, for writhing bodies united by thought, for swooning poetry and the baring of hearts by candlelight. A time for remembrance.
“It is the NIGHT – the dawning of rest, the dimpling of mattresses, the warmth of the dinner table, the promise of a new morrow. I should be thankful.”
And, slowly, she wanes into disrepute…
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