As I lay here in the stillness of the dark, I cock my head slightly to the left, listening to the varied sounds that surround me like my favorite soft, chenille blanket. I strain to hear life speak to me, thankful that it always seems to oblige this new, innate need and repeated request.
Sometimes life enters my time in the dark in an intrusive and forceful voice, while at other times spiriting in on the feather-light wing of a whisper, pushing me to pay closer attention to the voices that have now become my companions as I learn to repeatedly live in the dark.
There is the constant rattling, rumbling sensation of the refrigerator as it works to produce ice and water for me.
I feel a soft caress against my skin as air is moved by the ceiling fan that quietly, almost unnoticeably, whirls above me.
Voices tumble along the historical tiles that lace the hallways of the beautiful building I now call home.
Above my head, the miniscule light that doggedly forces its way through the thick covering on my bedroom windows fluctuates; reminding me that time continues to march forward, while also, inadvertently keeping time during my repeated incursions into a darkened world.
Suddenly, a hollow, baritone thud erupts into the silence of the dark as a fitness-focused member of the YMCA below drops their heavy weight on a floor ensconsed in a thick, rubbery, wall-to-wall carpet.
Stealthily, tip-toeing into my darkness, I vaguely hear the crystal-clear, high-pitched, tonal sound of the ancient elevator bell, signaling the arrival … or departure … of a fellow neighbor as they go about the business of their daily lives.
Music, like a ghost, magically and easily moves through the walls of my apartment, inviting me to sway to the enchanting melody, if even only in my mind.
Inter-twined with all the other voices is a clunk on my ceiling and the repeated tap-tap-taps of hard-nailed paws, bringing me comfort as I visualize how I imagine the little dog in the apartment above looks as he slides around on his pudgy belly, singularly-focused on his bone.
I then hear the scraping of the bone as the dog absently-mindedly slides across my ceiling while veraciously making history of his new treat.
Of all the voices I hear as I try to grow accustomed to living in the dark, this is one of the ones that most comforts me.
Unexpectedly and without warning, a jarring horn yells into the oppressing heat outside as someone’s car alarm comes alive, moved to song by the collision of some unseen force.
I had no idea how much life occurred in the dark. Unlike daylight, however, I often have to listen carefully and intently to capture the voices of life that swarm around me.
What was once unimaginable has now slowly morphed into a quiet respite. The voices that continuously swirl about me as I lay here in the dark evoke my imagination and vivid, fantastically stories dance like characters from my favorite stories, old and new.
The lenses I normally view the world through, for obvious reasons, continually change as this illness continously thrusts me back into the dark. While these lenses have grown darker from necessity, I find that much light is admitted when I purposefully and willfully pay attention to the voices in the dark; choosing to embrace them as characters in the next chapter of the story of my life.