In that second, or maybe it’s not one, but two, just as and after you turn off your light–turn, flip, flick, push–and the world is black, pitch black, for the first and only time each day, what do you see? Or who, or where, maybe.
I’m asking because it wasn’t until recently that I discovered the magic of this moment. It reminds me of the optical illusions where we stare, really stare at an image for a solid thirty seconds, maybe more (this image is usually black and white, often geometric and dizzying); immediately after, we place our gaze on a blank wall or sheet of paper. The image, on which we’d so concentrated, appears magically, and the longer we’d stared, the crisper the result. We blink a few times and it’s gone.
At night though, the image that appears isn’t one we’ve just studied, it’s the one that’s been plastered in the back of our minds the whole day through, and it’s only in the moment when the blackest curtain has dropped down on our day, before the street light fizzles in the window and the clock radio begins to glow, that our minds move the image from the back of our cluttered thoughts to in front of our open eyes.
Recently I’ve been seeing my Gran in these moments, she passed away two and a half weeks ago but I started seeing her before that. I know I won’t see her every night, because you can’t control what you think about subconsciously and things come up and time goes and I will be different tomorrow, so will you. To me, seeing my Gran reminds me of how my mom used to tuck me in at night, walk away but turn and wait in the threshold with the hall light behind her and tell me she loves me, then go. That’s what Gran is doing too, in a way, and it makes me feel better.
I might be sad tonight, if she’s not projected from the filmstrip of my psyche. I might feel shallow if I see something else, like San Diego, or the puppy I want my dad to adopt, or a boy, or two. But I don’t think we should feel sad, bad, or shallow about our thoughts–we should learn from them. Take the moments after (as we, literally, start to see the light) to reflect and listen and really, really see what is important, who we love, and where we want to be.