Acquainted with the Night

By Kyle Legrone

           The sound of midnight pierces the glass. Shattered fragments are scattered cautiously on the floor, and the specks of sand fall helpless to the task. Now is that time of night that we call the “other night”. The bats dance along the sky something like the vampire to the mirror. Of course, the matter is out of frame as these restless eyes search for something worth keeping. I think I know this feeling well, but I’m done with thinking. I lie awake in my bed contemplating my day in the foreground and my exhaustion in the back. I’m drowning in a paradox; the more I think about falling asleep, the more restless I become. It’s as if the more one knows, the more they come to understand their ignorance. Thoughts like these are like the oars to the steamboat, and my dreams and I, like fall to spring. To be like those dark bats against the sky, untroubled and unseen. I never wanted so much.

           This soliloquy of mine has cost me another hour, and I can tell that lying here won’t grant me reprieve from this wakeful world. I get up, throw on some clothes, and decide to go for a walk. The destination isn’t important, but I need a distraction from my thoughts. If I can do one and tire myself out with the other, all the better. There must be a limit to the hourglass. Surely the sand stops falling eventually, but for me, it expires too quickly. I open the door from my apartment and head outside. I can hear the silence, taste the stillness of the air, and inhale the solitude. I’m feeling sleepier already. As I walk, I can’t help but notice the half-moon tonight. I’m reminded of how most people either see the glass as half-empty or half-full. I’ve never understood that concept, though. When asked I usually say, in what is assumed to be a sarcastic tone, that I just see the glass. I’m sure there’s a point to be made here, but I’m in no mood to make points. I’m too tired to contemplate anything worldly now. I just want some sleep, and there’s never enough.

           Dinner was pretty good. I tried this new recipe of garlic chicken with rosemary and thyme. I recall it lacking something, but I couldn’t quiet tell what it was. It’s my brother’s recipe, but everything works out for him. Something about the way he simmers the complexities of the herbs and spices makes me envious. His pots and pans are of a higher quality than mine, and he doesn’t need to rush the cooking process like I do. Maybe that’s the difference? It’s not the flavor that makes me jealous, it’s just that, well – I appreciate the ingredients more than he does. The parts don’t mean much to him, he consumes things as a whole. A real “glass half-full” kind of guy. He says I think too much and give too much weight to minor details. Maybe he’s right, but maybe he’s wrong. Who knows? I’m just too tired to think about that right now. Besides, I only see the glass.

           It’s broken into a thousand pieces on the ground at the corner of the block ahead. I can tell from how the shards are arranged that some unfortunate souls have driven through it as they made the turn around the corner. I pass a few more blocks to this fork in the road. It’s split between a wooded area with houses on one side and trees on the other. I wonder how far one has to walk through the trees before they see the forest? I can’t tell you for certain which path I took, but at the end there is this gas station. I walked in, opened the cooler door and grabbed a drink. As I closed the door, I caught the time on my watch, 2 a.m. As I walk to the register, the cashier gets up from his seat. He was doing something on his phone, and I can tell I’ve interrupted his night. Not for this reason, but perhaps another, I feel ashamed, and I can’t quite look him in the eyes as I pay.

           I leave and walk a distance more before turning around. My watch and the moon agree that the time is neither wrong nor right. Time encompasses every thought, but since one can’t think about that at every moment, most people just choose not to think. More than that, one has to realize that if they must forget about other things, then they, too, are likely forgotten by another. Perhaps it’s this subtle understanding of the fleeting nature of life that drives us to make some eternal impression on the world, to resist the ephemeral. Is this what makes being famous or envied such admirable conditions? The fear of being forgotten; regarded as just another drop of water in the sea.

           There’s an agitation in the water, and the ripples admonish the moonlight. It struggles to be seen in the puddle to the left of the road ahead. I look up and see that the dawn is neither near nor far. The glory of the night sky has lost its enchantment. Trickles of the coming dawn crease the dark silhouettes, and embolden the clouds. As I taste the dew on my lips something sneers deep within me. I’ve made it home, and the time on the stove tells me the cause is not won, but lost. It’s 5 a.m., and I’ll have to get ready for work soon. The siege has ended, and I surrender gracefully. I’ve arrived at work now, and my boss asks me about my night. I told her it was fine, nothing eventful. “I did try a new recipe though, garlic chicken with rosemary and thyme”. She tells me that it sounds great, and seems to motion for confirmation. I tell her it was ok, just missing something. She looks at me, but I drop my eyes, unwilling to explain. “Too much rosemary”, I tell her, “and not enough thyme.”