The night used to hold so much promise. It held the potential of my unthought thoughts and ideas unrealized. I remember getting into my first car (mid 90’s Geo Prism) and just driving around in the late night hours over the long brick road in my hometown and wondering openly at the darkness. “The Moon is a Folded Napkin,” I would say as I considered all of the metaphors for what is possible without the sun glaring down and exposing all of blatantly unrealistic ideas I had as a teenager.
But, the night doesn’t do this so much anymore.
The night is about escape now. It is about trying to distract myself from what the day holds. It is about my constant battle between the short-form content that endlessly scrolls upward in a smooth never ending procession of banality and the long-form stories full of weighty ideas that I want to embrace and be a part of. It is about feeling inadequate as a father and husband and son. It is about wanting to quiet all of the loud noises of my life and trying to, for just a moment, feel at peace.
As I try to hold off going to sleep for just a little longer, I fall victim to thinking that this is all that there is. I tell myself, “you are too tired” or “you deserve to rest.” And while I am tired, the transition into night does not make it so. I may deserve to rest, but it isn’t because I worked too hard during the day. I do not lay brick and I do not fix cars. I work and I parent and I try to make meaning for others during the day, but the night has become simply a refuge from all of it.
The night feels like a blanket that suffocates with its safety. It is a procrastination tactic, a way to believe that the days are infinite even as I waste another few hours before trudging up to bed. Most of all, though, the night is solitary. It is about me and my own insecurities for not making enough progress or giving in to my worst instincts of inaction.
The dark expanse of night is what I long for, and also what I dread, most.
And yet, when the day comes, all is forgotten. The opportunity for a great beginning is there, and most of the time, I take it. But, waiting just behind the day’s glow of fulfilled promises and getting stuff done are the night’s moments of sure defeat. I wish it were not so. I wish the night didn’t feel like a cancer on my existence, eating away at what I am capable of.
Maybe this will change. Knowing that the night was not always like this helps a little. For now, I will hold on to the day, and survive the night.