I used to see her at night, when I was a child. My bedroom window looked out onto our quiet, suburban street. And I suffered from insomnia often, even as a child. I think I had too much energy, and I felt something was always just about to happen, which I just couldn’t miss, but of course nothing ever did. So sleep was a mystery to me.
Just like her.
She wasn’t there every night, just sometimes. I would keep a diary of this strange girl and my sightings of her, standing so still, so silent, for hours, just under the street light. I decided she came on the cycles of the moon, and it birthed an early fascination with astronomy in me. I didn’t follow that up in life though – early fascinations often die. They aren’t meant to last.
Eventually I couldn’t bear the mystery anymore. years had passed and nothing else interesting ever really happened in our quiet town. We never moved. My parents had the same jobs, the same little dreams, day after day. And school was just the same too. I got on with most of the other kids, did well enough in my classes, and so things just were. I was, as they say, a well-adjusted young girl.
But she – she was a mystery. So one night, when I was in my early teens, I went out to confront her. It was time, I considered, that she and I finally met. This strange girl of my insomnia, riding in on the street light and the cycles of the moon.
“Who are you” I asked the silent girl, hoping she would see me, for even standing so close she did not register my presence.
When she answered, it wasn’t really to me. I understood that. For I saw, closer up, that she was only partly there. She seemed to flicker a bit, like a movie reel projected on the screen of the night, illuminated only by the street light.
“I am electricity. I am the fascination of the moment. I am the one that never sleeps.”
“Why are you here, just standing in the dark?”
“I am standing in the light, ” she said. “I travel on light, and thought, and communication. I travel on information, as we all do.”
“Who are you?” I asked again, and finally she looked at me. Or I think she did. The shadows of the night covered her face, but she turned it to me, and I felt her eyes on me in some indefinable but inarguable way.
“I am you” she said. “On the precipice of your life. Waiting. Just waiting for something to happen”.
And then, suddenly, she was gone, and I looked up to the street light, and saw myself in my mind’s eye, for the first time. Just a girl, standing under a light in our quiet suburban streets, in tune with the cycles of the moon. Just waiting. Always waiting.
And I understood that, and her, somehow. But what I never understood, what I still don’t understand, is what drew me here, to see her, to see myself, like moth to a flame, and what the precipice is, and what it all means.
I guess I’m still waiting.
(c ) Helen M Valentina 2018