home Creative Writing, Fiction Accustomed to the dark | Gavin Fitzgerald

Accustomed to the dark | Gavin Fitzgerald

     I hold a foot out, over the brink, nothing but space beneath it. I pray I’m right and that I can see. If I could be assured of sight, I might be able to rest easy. My breath would not be so light in my chest, and the breeze would not be so damp on my skin. It rustles the wings of my shirt, and ripples like a sail. It churns within itself, and like a tide rushes then withdraws. My arms outstretched, I float like a buoy.
A muted yellow passes through the skin, and I’m aware. My foot hovers, it sways, and while I know there is a world for it to fall down to, it is convinced otherwise. Tiny tremors running up my leg are telling me to fear. I breathe deep and try to ignore them, hearing the street light buzz near me. Leaves move, riding invisible waves to skip over concrete and catch the sloped bank on which I stand. A pyramid with no point, I stand on the top, one foot on the horizontal, the other in suspension. And I wait to hear the straining.
We grow accustomed to the dark, now that the light is gone. For centuries, which last mere moments, we are stunned, we are breathless, my heart beats faster than normal. I feel faint in my terror and lead weight in my sneakers.
The buzzing stops and the yellow is gone. All is truly dark. I know there is a world for my foot to fall, so I step out and start to feel my way into this dark. My sole thuds against the slope and hands out to my sides, I waver in the wind, catching my balance as the cold blows my static self away. I incline to whisper my fingers along the concrete. The ridges in my fingertips pick up the dirt and dryness of urbanity. My instauration.
My feet could move quicker after that. We can all feel our way through the dark after that first step. Though there was no thousand year light in the sky to guide us. Though the moon had abandoned its children to their fate, we would still wander, separate and blind. Nothing could disclose a sign. No pointers existed for me. Feet carried beings forwards to new places, the same shade of night as the previous.
I never searched for the yellow again. I knew that it belonged to a past now. I was not indebted by anything and knew better than to seek anyone. I would grope in blindness and sense with ignorance. Until I found one dead-end in this city.
When I found it, the road simply went vertical. My path ended with the same bluntness as that of a full -stop. I felt the hot rub of frustration well inside me. I raised a hand to press its surface. Coarse asphalt was a border between me and opportunity. The road went upwards and embraced a dimension I could not. If there had been enough light for me to just see it before my eyes, I knew I would never see its end.
I tapped it in an echo of frustration. Wind choked from the surface, so I knew there was surface. My clothes rippled, my scalp was cold, my hair, wet. I put my back to the road and wondered if it was the darkness which was altering around me. Or was I altering around this forever midnight.
The wind came to, bounced off walls, pillars, bridges, raised motorway. I could imagine the wind brushing past other wanderers. There were other shells misplaced here, and we all took heed of the wind. In this land of darkness, the wind’s echoes were all there was to guide us.
We grow accustomed to the dark. And life steps almost straight.