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"I inch my way along in near total darkness beneath barely pinpricks of light."

Some nights, I wander through dark rooms, refusing to turn on any lights as if testing my muscle memory. I tell myself that I don't want to awaken The Muse, as if any force in this universe could wake up The Muse once she's down, but I feel genuinely comforted by my resulting blindness. I'm also trying to preserve my night sight for what I might find when I peer up into the sky. The neighbor's illegal upward-facing lights try to blind me from this reassuring night as I find a seat and peer up through the ambient evening air. Stars seem to congregate up here, with the occasional satellite floating across the plane. A ShootingStar streaks across before me, there then gone in an instant, more a blink of an experience than an actual one.

No matter how I might peer then, another ShootingStar will not cross my path.
That one, that utterly unbidden first shot, will be the last sign of supersonic animation that evening. It's one o'clock in the morning. Sleep had slipped her usual grasp on me. A late lunch had disqualified any interest in supper and I might have begun feeling hungry by then, but I like to go to sleep feeling a little hungry so I could not bear to prepare myself a post-midnight snack. I sat on the darkened deck, keeping the railing between me and the neighbors attempt to wash out the glimmering sky, and merely watched.

That ShootingStar had violated a first principle of my corner of civilization. Any self-respecting extraordinary experience should retain the decency to repeat itself a few times, but it didn't and would not. They never do, yet I retain my expectation that they might and probably should. It left me with a genuinely fleeting feeling that I had been fortunate to witness its passing without bothering to infuse me with any sense that I might continue to be that lucky. No incantation would lure it back out on that vast stage for a curtain call. No appreciate on my part would goad any small decency on its part, for it was well and truly past. Gone forever.

I stumble over things in the dark. I stub my toe and almost tip over a candlestick but still persist in navigating without the benefit of running lights, for I'm not running anywhere. I am simply here, feeling a little queer that I won't allow myself to scan my social media. I inhabit more primitive times where The Big Dipper oversaw the evening's entertainment while slowly sliding off to the West. Mine is not a social call, not even a call, really, but perhaps a calling. I troll for significance, even here, and a random ShootingStar serves as a powerful sign that I must be doing something right, like finding a parking spot right next to the shop entrance in a driving rainstorm: parking karma. A small reassurance that I'm on a proper path, that I have not yet completely damned myself to mere mediocrity, still holding some special place in this world as I inch my way along in near total darkness beneath barely pinpricks of light.

©2019 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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