waking up in the pitch black interiors of my room used to scare me as a child. i slept in a cavernous room with huge windows, outside of which was my lola's ylang-ylang tree that had been left to grow wildly, overwhelming our house's facade in its suffocating hold. night times in my dark room were always a playground for all types of terrible things. monsters and ghosts and demons lurk in the unseen corners, stalking me, waiting for just the right moment, to do what with me, i was too terrified to even imagine. peeking through half open eyes, i could see shadows come alive as light filtered through the thorny branches and thick foliage of my lola's wild tree. they danced on the walls and ceilings with the rustling of the leaves, like dark nymphs, spirits of the night, gliding around and celebrating the ceasing of sunlight. my brother slept in the same room as i and he can only sleep with the lights off. he was never bothered by the things that i see. me, being the younger, i could not insist on my preference to keep the light on. in the end, sleep was always done in the terror of the dark.
i would lay perfectly still, eyes clamped shut. i would pray for courage, i would pray for strength, but more importantly, i would pray for sleep to come quickly. and in my head, while my senses become heightened with fear, as i hear faint and unworldly sounds and begin to feel every inch of my skin fire with the slightest change of breeze, God, in His mercy to a frightened child, blesses me with the gift of numbness. He sets it in gradually, killing my feeling little by little, soothing my anxiety, quelling my panic until in the end, all fear is overcome and the dark eventually falls impotent.
the coming years has seen me grow a fondness now to the dark. in the absence of fear, i had learned to appreciate the calmness it ironically now brings me. in the dark, everything is still. in the dark, everything is quiet. in the dark, the demons now in my head become dumb. i now sleep peacefully in it. i choose it. i long for it. on the end of my long days, as i retire to my large, empty room and lay my wearied body on my bed, i turn the lights off, feel for my blanket, feel for my pillows, and feel as the emancipating numbness slowly swallows me whole.