Log in

No account? Create an account
   Journal    Friends    Archive    Profile    Memories
  Last FM - free online radio, charts, music community | Questionable Content, comedy webcomic | Wondermark, An Illustrated Jocularity | Hanzi Smatter, dedicated to the misuse of Chinese characters in Western culture | Chez Pim, The lovely Pim's delicious food blog |

Walking in darkness - Scarlet Letters

Sep. 9th, 2013 10:11 pm Walking in darkness

By '87, we'd had enough of London. Its streets had turned out to be paved with just enough gold to take out a mortgage on a small house at a substantial remove from work, from where it was at, and from the kind of green fields that somewhat older children would probably want to frolic in one day if they weren't to eventually succumb to a life of dissolution and hard drugs. We felt hemmed in, and worried that one day, my brother would bounce himself out the window of his tiny bedroom. And so, with a cunning little manoeuvre that saw us kids stay with relatives before arriving at a miraculously-furnished new house, we moved.

Perhaps this clever ploy explains why, for many years, I had dreams of hidden trapdoors and mysterious tunnels, Narnia-esque wardrobes and loose bricks into underground caverns. Or perhaps, given that I thought I knew how to think myself into flight and could hardly sleep for fear of the cybermen hiding under my bed, I just had an over-active imagination. Goodness knows we needed one, in those heady days of two-colour text adventures and Sylvester McCoy as Doctor Who.

Or perhaps the house itself inspired such thoughts. I wasn't the only one to have them. It was bigger and older than the London house, and while publicly I scoffed at my brother's unwillingness to go up the stairs alone after dark, I did so myself with some trepidation. There was a haunting aspect to the way the shadows clung at the walls, a solidity and an age to the darkness that may not exactly have menaced, but boy did it know how to loom. It was a darkness that demanded to be taken seriously.

But I was not easily cowed as a child, and over time I came to an arrangement with the dark. What made it mad, I figured, is that although it had been there first, it was still forced to flee on a regular basis by these four persistent, fidgety beings on their meaningless nocturnal perambulations. Pretty unfair really, a concept that the young me understood all too well. So rather than shoo the darkness away with my blundering invasive presence, I swam through it, my hands learning to follow the wooden detail on the wall that started out at head height and sank over time to my waist.

Even now, I still prefer to walk the house in darkness. Sometimes, because I'm grown-up and sensible now, I tell myself that it's because I don't want to wake anyone. But the house and I, we know different.

4 comments - Leave a commentPrevious Entry Share Next Entry


Date:September 9th, 2013 11:23 pm (UTC)
To a certain extent... me too.

When I was little I preferred total darkness to semi-darkness. Half-seen things were scarier. I remember a miserable evening when I was convinced I could see bones gleaming in my bedroom (presumably just the light catching the edges of various things that were totally innocuous in daylight).

I am very good at walking around in the dark without falling over things, though.
Date:September 10th, 2013 12:55 am (UTC)
That sounds terrifying... I'm not entirely sure how I managed to work cybermen up into a credible threat, but I did.

I'm also quite good at walking in the dark, but only indoors. Outdoors I keep thinking I'm going to fall into an unaccounted-for lake or something.

Edited at 2013-09-10 01:41 pm (UTC)
Date:September 10th, 2013 06:13 am (UTC)
People are like stained - glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
Date:September 10th, 2013 01:40 pm (UTC)
Thanks Anonymous, that's absolutely beautiful.