Daytime has its perks, sure. But nighttime? Nighttime is her turf. Windows closed, curtains drawn, candles lit, a silence that envelops everything. Not the silence of the day, oppressive and lazy. But the silence of the night; crickets chirp, winds blow, occasional car horns echo from far away. There is something inspiring in this silence, almost magical. The promise of solitude, the thrill of birthing secrets in the rolling darkness, promises that grow deeper as the night becomes darker, dissolving into nothingness come dawn.
At nighttime, the city sleeps. With their doors securely locked, the tired population slumbers, waking into their respective worlds of dreams. Everything taboo, that seems clandestine in the harsh rays of the sun, becomes just another thought, just another vision in the realms of dreams. Sleep tucks the populace in lovingly; gently rocking the city’s inhabitants till their bedrooms fill up with the sound of snores. In this hush, in this promise made between the dark skies and the twinkling stars, she finds so easily what she ran after vainly in the day.
Words flow from her consciousness to form sentences. A story begins to take shape. Characters bloom in the flickering flame of her candle, as her pen moves across the page in a feverish haze. Thoughts that elude her in the presence of the sun, come to life under the gaze of the moon like a circus on opening night, seemingly chaotic but actually perfectly harmonized.
By the crack between the curtain and the window, growing and shrinking as a breeze blows the fabric away and brings it back, she can see glimmers of other going-ons, glimpses into the slumbering neighbourhood’s attempts to stay awake in the throes of darkness. The whistles of the night guard, designed to keep him alert, get lost in the hush of trees, the murmur of leaves, and the chirping of crickets. Lit windows here and there sparkle like the white hair within a recently ageing man’s luscious locks
Owls, birds of the dark, allies to those like her, fly unseen and unheard. They are no chameleons but they sure do a grand job of camouflaging themselves. Sleep tries to comfort her too, aching to embrace her. But she has long since learnt to resist its charms. Even the cold, which seeps in through the infinitesimal cracks spread throughout the house, is unable to tempt her to find solace in the cosy cocoon of her blanket. She has long since learnt to take warmth from the glow of the candle, and the glow within her that grows stronger with each sentence she pens down.
Only when the darkness reaches its peak, when the cold reaches its lowest temperatures, does her body clock finally chime. She knows what’s to come. She concludes the paragraph she is working on, puts down her pen and stretches, finally giving in to the yawn that has been lying just below her jaw, inching towards her mouth and waiting to be released. She pushes back her chair, blows out the candle and stumbles to her bed. She drops into the cool sheets, falling asleep long before they turn warm enough to keep the cold at bay. Moments later, the first rays of light manoeuvre through the dewy mist to weakly infiltrate the dark cloak worn by twilight.
Dawn is here.