The night came riding in. It was stealth. I knew it would arrive again as it had in the past. I expected it. I waited for it. I held my breath for it.
And then, one night, there it was.
The darkness first filled the room and then it filled my mind, then my heart. Black. Indelible. It was too thick to see through. It lay down in bed beside me to become my lover for the night. We embraced each other and told each other our secrets. There would be no intrusion from the outside world that night. It kept me company and I was a good listener.
It took my soul for the night and occupied my mind. I was a captive audience to its tales and believed every word spoken. It wrapped me in its cloak and hid me from the world. We were the most intimate of partners. It knew me and I certainly knew it. We clung to each other through the wee hours of the morning and when dawn arrived, I was left alone but for its scent. It had left its mark on me. I did not want others to know that I had allowed this darkness into my bed. I was ashamed. I felt alone. I had a secret which I felt would soon be exposed should I enter into the light of day.
I wanted to be alone with its memory. It had been my guilty pleasure for the night. Its memory clung to my skin and I wanted nothing more than to let it linger. Self pity. It was all mine. And I could indulge in its sweetness and bathe in its dark luxury. The blackness of the night gave me permission to fear, to long, to cry, to yearn, to pity. It encouraged my anger, fed my self-loathing, fueled my nonsense. I allowed it to fill my core with dread. And it felt so good.
And then it was time to break the silence which had been afforded to me. The house stirred. Light brought life. Noises filled the air and ripped me from my shroud. I clung to it. I wanted to wrap myself up once again and simply lay there – still – in nothingness. I needed no mask there. I did not need to hide. Hiding had become such an effort. And I had become so good at it that it seemed quite natural to stay on my guard – in hiding. It took so much energy to mask myself as the person I was before cancer ripped through me.
One word. One comment. Soaked through my skin like a toxin. I had become so thin skinned that it didn’t take much to wound me these days. Sensitive to criticism. Sensitive to noise. Sensitive to activity. These were abrasive to my very being and I felt the thin membrane of my collective being fall into pieces as though it were being ripped apart.
The night lingers still. I can still hear its voice. I feel the pain of loss, of depression, of grief. “Why me?” I ask myself.
“Why not me?” corrects my therapist.
How much more am I to endure?
The night disconnects me from my joy. It springs doubt upon me. It distances me from love. It blinds my view from the beauty of life, of celebration, of song and dance. And I feel guilty for liking where I am. Alone. Sad. In hiding. I am intimate with my feelings and for once we are telling each other the truth. I want to rise and I don’t. It is a purgatory of emotions which fills me.
I yearn for the dark of night once more. I crave the taste of defeat and sadness. Wrapped in self-pity, there is no need for the warmth of light, no need for kind words, supportive words, words of encouragement lest they violate the safety of this tomb I have built around me.
For today – let me breath in the night.