Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Guardian Boy, Guardian Moon
The dark house is almost perfectly still. The others have been asleep for hours and it's just me, alone, moving around. Right hand out, left arm down, I graze touchpoints as I go.
The refrigerator; three steps to the living room; four steps to the rocking chair;
I close my eyes, crushing eyelids together, creating a burst of stars behind them. I pretend it's not dark, only that I've chosen to walk blindly as a game.
Because actually, I am afraid of the dark.
Instinctively, I feel a pressure at my calves. The warning of a presence. I speed up as the pressure rises. It's against my thighs, the small of my back. It pushes with insistence: be afraid, because you cannot see me.
There's a catch in my gut -- a flipped-over fear -- and I'm in the hallway. Both arms are out now, spanning the width. The closet door; one step to the bathroom; two steps to the bend; four steps to the nursery; I find the knob to turn it just-so to avoid the creaking snap of an old mechanism.
I can hear him breathing from across the room. He's snug in his bed, broken free of his swaddle, and then lifted heavily into my arms. I pull him to myself and he opens his mouth without needing any guidance.
I look around the room with adjusted eyes. The full moon presses through curtains to highlight one slow curve of one perfect cheek, and my sleeping boy suckles. The darkness isn't black anymore, it's just grey. And the creeping presence was only the presence of my imagination, creating a whorling mess of grasping unknowns behind me.
Erased by the real warmth and safety of this new baby in my arms, protecting me with his innocence.
I am deeply under. Sunken into sleep with a great weight pressing from above; immersed in a thick, stifling fullness. Although the pressure is from above, there is a bulk of gravity below and something within it tugging at me. I try to shake it off, but it tightens...
and suddenly dissolves -- the pressure, the fullness, the gravity -- leaving me weightless and startled and awake. A floating mess of edge-less worry.
My jaws are clenched so hard that my teeth are individual bits of clay: moldable; smashed.
A single shaft of moonlight has fallen across my face, glaring onto my closed eyes. I blink, and lie still to test the weightlessness. When I feel sure that I'll neither drift nor sink, I rise and cross the room.
The window blinds are half-open: a moonlight concession from last night's phobia. I intend to turn them the other direction -- block the piercing light -- but as I glance into the early morning darkness, the moon stabs at me and I recoil. I squint against its intrusion. It's not huge, soft, or yielding, but distant, sharp, and focused.
It is vigilant and possessive.
I look back at my pillow and trace the line of blue light to where it ends over Justin's black hair. I leave the window as it was and climb back into bed. My head falls exactly where the moon can see it.
And I rest within the fierceness of the light.
This piece is one that I shared in a practice run of Bigger Picture Blogs' new Writing Circles, which are open to you all now! Anyone is eligible join a writing circle, and we HOPE you will; they're an amazing way to give and receive feedback, support, and guidance as we try to hone our writing skills and realize the vision behind our expressed thoughts. If you think sharing your work for constructive criticism by friends and peers sounds helpful, please give Writing Circles a try!