Life takes on a different meaning when the lights go out permanently. WIP
I close my eyes before blowing out the candle and try to imagine what the world should look like when I open them again. A negative image of the flame momentarily flickers red behind my eyelids. I purse my lips and with a gentle breath listen to the flame crackle intensely before falling silent. Left with only a vague scent of smoke I know there is now only darkness. I dwell a moment longer in complete blindness, in the memory of the way things once were, recalling the times when I closed my eyes to seek peace, escape. I know the Milky Way will be even brighter in the absence of the moon - a billowing shroud of powdered diamonds draped between the thousands of the closer stars.
We don't fear the darkness, we fear what hides in the darkness. Light that only illuminates what is in front of us also blinds us to our surroundings - our world is only as large as what we can see and the world has shrank considerably for most of us. We lean closer to the fire, pull our blankets tighter over our heads, counting, dreading the remaining hours before dawn.
With a sigh I lean further into the lawn chair. Is this the same night sky that the first men noticed? The same night sky primordial insects crawled and riggled beneath unaware? Choking back a sob I light a cigarette to stop from weeping, the soft orange glow of the tip brightening with each inhale. It was undeniably beautiful, an ebony canvas speckled, spattered, splotched and streaked with millions of stars. Countless lights moving, fading and brightning all at once. But their light provided no warmth or comfort, it was a cold, ancient light unchanged for eons. It was a light that only deepened shadows and gave the darkness new dimensions. In forty years I had seen the Milky Way a total of four times - that was until the lights went out two years ago.