The Wise Novelist

Strange Things You Do In The Dark

My wife is part mole. She really hates lights. Now I see pretty well in the dark. I think it’s because of my unusual form of colorblindness. I have no science to back me up, but anecdotally speaking, I can perceive gradiants of shadows in a darkened room or at night outdoors to the point where I can run full out through the dark and avoid most objects. Served me well in my teenage years.

But I don’t dislike the light, like Lisa does.

Now I wake up a few hours before she does every day. After I do my morning routine out back with Claire & Honey and then my office tweeting and blog, at about 4 am I rise through the stairway and go to the kitchen on the first floor, where I’ll put on the kettle – Lisa likes tea in the morning – and then I’ll go feed and cuddle Smokey. Sometimes, if I’m feeling ambitious, I’ll empty or fill the dishwasher. Then I’ll go upstairs and make sure Lisa’s awake. She always is, although I think that’s because I have a heavy footfall on the stairs.

Now I like to turn on the lights in the kitchen. I don’t want to chance screwing around the stove, or with glassware or cutlery when it’s dark.

But no sooner does Lisa come down the stairs and appear in the kitchen when she immediately hits the dimmer on the kitchen lights, and then, grabbing her tea, goes to sit in the darkened living room. Sometimes, I don’t realize she has passed through until I feel my eyes straining.

By then I’ve made my upstair’s coffee (as opposed to the three cups I’ve already had down in my office) and join her in the darkened living room, sitting beside each other in our wonderful recliners, facing a blackened TV screen across the large living room.

It’s a bit like sitting in a Catholic confessional, I can hear her breathing in close proximity, although the lawyer in me prevents me from confessing anything. There is no absolution waiting in this darkness.

But we do use this time to catch up from yesterday’s events, what’s been going on at our respective jobs, family gossip, or plans for the weekend.

This is a particularly dangerous time, because this is also when Lisa starts preparing her “Honey Do List.” She sits in the dark and runs through the litany of things that she believes needs fixing or changing. So I do my best to keep her mind distracted with small talk.

In desperation to see light, I’ll sometimes reach for my cell and use the excuse to check Amazon to see if there are any new book reviews. During those really dark winter months, if I’m feeling particularly light deprived, I may also check the weather, for the week. I use the excuse that I need to gauge whether it’s necessary to remove or place coats on the mules.

During those moments of phone screen light, Lisa hisses softly like a Vampire until the light goes out. But when I’m really lucky, this assualt on Lisa’s photophobia is enough to distract her from her list making.

When all of these options have played themselves out, and it is not yet time to leave to drop Lisa at work, my bored five-year-old mind struggles to find new ways of amusing myself in the dark.

Yesterday, I noticed a small square of light coming through the back sliding glass doors which crossed over my shoulder and imprinted across the room on my stone fireplace, who I call The Grand Kahuna.

It was one of the motion-sensitive security lights, probably triggered by Claire or Honey out by the barn. I knew I didn’t have much time, so I reached for my iPhone with my right hand and made the above shadow with my left, snapping just in time before the light went out.

It looks like a drowning man’s hand. Going down for the count.

I tried for the middle finger silhouette as my follow-up, but it was too late. The light had been extingushed.

But I’ll be ready for that next opportunity.

Maybe this morning. Life is luck.

Well, I better get moving. Smokey and Lisa await.

Then my rounds and the dreadmill.

But it is Thursday. We’re close.

So you fine, five readers have your coffee and get ready to wrap up all of those work week loose ends.

Friday calls to us all from the other side of a darkened room. Be ready to answer.

But until then, let’s make today a great one.

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