Darkness has no name. It has no being. It was not aware of the darkness until it was aware of itself. It was nothing wrapped in a nothing. Within the nothing was a ripple rising from the indifference of awareness without identity, like the beginning of a new wave on an ocean.
The ripple grew in force and then in awareness. It felt pain and retreated and felt itself asserted against. In its resistance there was will and a desire for oblivion. Something pushed back against the desire for the dark and the desire became stronger. As the desire moved with purpose, so moved the pain.
He opened his eyes in darkness and memories flooded him, broken like shards of a mirror. None of these feelings were welcome. Painless oblivion was now out of reach.
He struggled in the darkness, but there was no strength in the body as he became gradually aware of it. Things attached to it. Something attached to his face that blew fresh breezes. A red light was blinking urgently off past his right hand and there were soft noises approaching.
I hope nobody sees me like this, he thought and then there was nothing.
When the emptiness stopped and light began he opened his eyes again and became aware of eyes and light and a bitter dampness on his tongue and movement around him.
Three women were standing beside the bed. One dressed in a light blue uniform fussing with something by the wall he couldn't see. The others were women, one young, one old; they stood looking troubled.
"How are you, dad?"
I don't like women to see me like this, he thought. Weak. All water and dry vellum. Like a worm caught on a hot sidewalk, blind and twisting and baffled. I don't like it. They should have seen me only as I was. Furious youth foaming at the moon, ripe and dangerous - Naked women! Bare chested Goddesses at whose cunts I worshiped! What else were they invented for?
Oh for god sakes. Wormwood. Wormwood.
The strong darkness returned and beyond it voices calling him in fear.
Who are these women? Should I know them?
He opened his eyes again and there were two women there who seemed to be made of light. And then a word that sounded like "puce". He moved his lips trying to pronounce it. His lips struggled with his will to produce a sound. Suddenly it seemed like the most important thing he would ever do, to pronounce the word "puce."
He became aware of the water in his body turning cold. A burst of sparks rising in the air. It wasn't that he couldn't see, there was nothing to see and there was only the memory of the room and then that was gone. It wasn't that he couldn't hear, but that sound had vanished to a solitary ringing tone of silence. It was not that he couldn't move, but that he couldn't locate his body. All that he had been was withdrawing into a cold ball that melted into -
- a park.
Swing sets and a battered push merry-go-round beside a small white church. Small and hungry and filled with feeling. Blowing brown leaves at his sneakered shoes that spoke of broom stick paper witches in frosted windows and grinning pumpkins and the moving along of the year into cool dying and all the future stretched out like an infinite road undamaged by decisions. Bending his knees in corduroys, at the end of his arm stubby fingers with a Mickey Mouse band-aid on his thumb picking up a leaf and crushing it, holding it to his nose.
The park - no park.
The sky - no sky seemed filled with bright moonlight. It was not the moonlight, but the quality of the dark in which a moon ought to be shining but was not, a cast of brilliance without illumination. A feeling of safety as though awaking into joy and the soft steady drumming of a great heart. The things that had seemed so important before had the feeling of a dream already drifting away past range of caring. He felt silly. A great rising of desire, an intense longing to join himself fiercely to the thrumming loins of woman and the warmth of this strong desire turned the sky orange then to red, then to clear light-no light. And then nothing.
A great unraveling of smoke and there was no self and no boundary as space swelled and curved into freedom.
But is this all? And he was afraid. I don't want to stop - existing.
And who is this watcher who cries in the dark?
Memories flooded over him, overwhelming memories of women and children, thoughts about money, people who had wronged him, things he had hoped to do and could not. Emotions and regrets in a fury of florid music. Jigjag. Jigjag. Jigjag. Beds. Women. Children. Jigjag. Jigjag. Twining of lovers. Vacant hilarity.
Thou hast sinned against my light and I have made thee a servant of slaves.
Warmth and closeness, folded in a living warmth and the gentle tick-tock of a heartbeat, which all seemed strangely familiar and forgotten. Swaying motion, strange sounds. Urgency and explosion. A room of sound, squinting painfully against the light and crying in fear.
Cooing and warmth and something against his small mouth. A woman, a breast, a nipple.
The memories retreated forever and he began again remembering how to sleep in warm arms.