There is a light in my apartment washroom, that feebly shines its light upon the world. When brushing my teeth at night, images of the Little Engine that Could are summoned wordlessly to my mind, and I imagine this light, trying to spread its dim glow beyond the tiny walls of this tiny room. The simple act of brushing my teeth is therapeutic and the flicker hides the stains. Unbidden come stories of the past - Hand, hand, fingers, thumb. One thumb, one thumb, drumming on a drum. It is while brushing my teeth that I marvel at the wonders of the human body. To be burdened brushing your teeth every day simply because you have an opposable thumb. Imagine your world without control over your world. The marvels of the thumb, dum dum dum. Are such trivialities a waste? Is it inane to wonder what it would feel like if you knew that you would never be able to brush your hair again, because you'd lost your thumbs? Perhaps it's self-indulgent to take the time to imagine such a situation, but the light flickers on and I am left to wonder. Dum dum dum.
Of course, I do not spend my morning rituals dwelling on the wonder of my phalanges, though I will admit a certain preoccupation with Gray's Anatomy of the Human Body - not as ABC should like to portray it, but in the more literal sense. Once a torso, or many faces - who knows?, stood gazing into the same mirror that currently gazes back at me. For months that person lived as I live. He cooked with the same stove. She washed the dishes in the same sink. He awoke to a flickering light in the mornings, and she turned it out at night. I do not know his name. I do not know if she exists. But we are connected in some way, by that flickering light, struggling to project its light outwards. On and off, on and off, on and off. Dum, dum, dum, drumming on a drum.
If you were to see the night skyline, you would not notice that single, flickering light (one thumb, one thumb). But what would you see? The cars on the highways, speeding forward to unknown destinations with unknown purposes, projecting their own light on to the highway as they race into the darkness? Would you see the office lights that keep our city running? Or the streets signs that glow brilliantly, an alluring promise that comes alive only at night? And on and on the city lives, never sleeping and spilling forth its light, pulsing, pulsing, pulsing, drumming on a drum. And only few know of the light that flickers endlessly in a tiny bathroom late at night.
And were it to stop? I feel as though this feeble light, like all the lightness that has proceeded it in man's history, like the Sun that illuminated Plato's Cave, provides some proof that I can go on living, sporadically shining my own light on the world. If this single light did not flicker, the whole of society would stop. And this also, has been one of dark places of the earth. My parents built the house I grew up in - the stories were mine and mine alone. Light came out of this river ever since. And though I could not bear a descent into the Dark Ages, my darkness is something else entirely. "I am alone! I am alone!" she cried, such was her darkness. Dum dum dum drumming on a drum.
I carry my darkness internally, at peace and hidden by the light. A Clean Well-Lighted Place. Last week he tried to commit suicide - and Hemingway succeeded. And Virginia Woolf succeeded. And Conrad lived to the end of his days - I think. The flickering light knows. It knows the stories of the people who inhabited this place even before I knew myself. It does not know simply that they existed. It knows what they lived and it gave them the light to see, in the same imperfect light that now imparts my reflection. Or was it imperfect? The light did not always flicker, though it has flickered as long as I can remember. What happened to cause the flicker? The broken shade is my fault - I tried to end the flickering.
There is a light in my apartment washroom, that feebly emits its light upon the world, flickering endlessly. When brushing my teeth each morning, images of the Little Engine that Could are summoned wordlessly to my mind, and I imagine this light, trying to spread its dim glow beyond the thin walls of this tiny room, beyond the window and out into the street. The simple act of brushing my teeth is therapeutic and the flicker hides the truth. And more unbidden stories of the past permeate my mind - Hand, hand, fingers, thumb. One thumb, one thumb, drumming on a drum. It is while brushing my teeth that I marvel at the wonders of the human body. To be grateful to be able to brush your teeth - simply because you have an opposable thumb. Imagine your world without control over your world. The marvels of the thumb, dum dum dum. Such trivialities are not a waste. It is undoubtedly inane to wonder what it would feel like if you knew that you would never be able to brush your hair again. And it may be self-indulgent to take the time to imagine such a situation - but the light flickers on and on without end and I am left to wonder. Dum dum dum.
When my lease is finished, will the flicker tell the story of how I tried to snuff my own light, or will I carry my darkness - and that flicker of hope with me, out into the night?