Posts Tagged ‘Flirtations’

A Little Light In The Night

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

It was a simple purchase. While wandering the aisles of one discount store or another on our way to the cat food aisle, I saw a display of nightlights. I took a quick look and grabbed the cheapest one. It was a couple of bucks, I think.

And that evening, before the Texas Gal and I retired for the evening, I opened the package, shifted the swiveling shade a quarter-turn and plugged the light into the spare outlet in the bathroom. It cast enough light into the room to accomplish any necessary nocturnal business, and I nodded, pleased. That was far better, I thought, than our practice of keeping on all night one of the fluorescent bulbs that flank the mirror.

And then I considered the yellowish light that the nightlight cast on the walls. Where had I seen that light before? I didn’t know right away, but the answer came to me sometime over the next few days: It was, unsurprisingly, another nightlight, this one in my room in the house on Kilian Boulevard.

When we moved into the house on Kilian in 1957, I think it was the first time I had my own room. My memories of our apartment on Riverside Drive are dim, but I believe that nighttimes on Kilian found me alone in the dark for the first time in my life. Except it wasn’t truly dark. The lights of cars driving south on Kilian Boulevard would shine through my windows, making blocks of light chase each other across my walls. And the trees between me and those headlights cast shadows on my walls that twisted menacingly as they danced around the room.

Eventually, a set of dark brown curtains blocked the scary nighttime lights, but before they went up, my folks got me a nightlight. Plugged into the outlet near the head of my bed, its bulb cast a reassuring glow, made into an odd yellow color by the plastic shade.

I no longer fear the grasping shadows of the trees. But the subtle glow of our new nightlight provides less interruption of sleep mode during a necessary nocturnal trip to the bathroom than did the bright glare of the fluorescent bulb. So it’s been a small but useful addition to the furnishings here. And its glow links it with the long ago nightlight that comforted the very small whiteray when the nighttime shadows of the trees danced on the walls. Those shadows turned out, of course, to be much less dangerous than they seemed at the time, which is something I think we eventually find to be true of many of our fears.

And here’s an entirely appropriate tune for the day: The Flirtations, with “Change My Darkness Into Light” from 1966. It never made the charts, which is a shame.