Shadows, Sunrise

Sheets cover the lower half of my body. The nearby freeway hums and rumbles in the background. Light from streetlamps sneaks through closed blinds and diffuse the darkness. Turned toward the center of the bed, I watch; I listen. I realize I’m not breathing, not because I’m consciously holding my breath, but because of the little one beside me.

She takes my breath away.

Little lungs inspiring as deeply as they can, relaxed eyelids, the muted and peaceful glow of her face siphon happiness from places within I never knew and fill my heart that I’m still getting to know. There’s tightness, discomfort from contentedness. It is solid ground and a highwire. I teeter along the cognitive dissonance where happiness and doubt coexist.

The first eight weeks cast an easily darker shadow on my perspective. I couldn’t ignore hormones and just smile. I couldn’t ignore harmless comments or even generous offers of help and instead took offense. I couldn’t ignore persistent, pulsing cries pleading for simple needs to be met. I couldn’t help myself.

Objectively, months later levels are more even. There’s more smiling, fewer eggshells. We use the bathroom. We eat. We sleep. Fulfilling these needs reveals the complexity of her personality, the obvious need to be nurtured, guided, taught. Is it Maslowesque. Is it even a pyramid.

What am I doing. Is it good enough. Will it ever be good enough.

I allow myself to inhale her overwhelming beauty, her skin aubergine, opalescent in the wee hours. I continue watching her as the bedroom slowly brightens. The air conditioner and refrigerator harmonize in my subconscious, but her breathing completes the chord and finally lulls me to sleep.

It’s good enough for now.

There are still shadows, though fainter. They do not come from her.


It’s interesting how the light doesn’t spread; not even a beam shoots down from the source, as if Scotty was never in charge. Nobody’s going anywhere. A visible beam would mean light shining on particles in the air. No dust? No skin cells? No moisture? Or is the darkness just that oppressive? How do you even know where you are, if the light is your only point of reference? It’s not illuminating anything else, but the darkness can’t cover it. It can’t snuff it out. The point here is not that the light isn’t shining on anything; the point is that it’s shining at all, and that you can see it. You might try to get semantic and say it’s shining on the dark, and without the darkness, you couldn’t see the light. The darkness provides some competition for your eyes, true, but do your eyes follow the darkness or the light? Can your eyes focus on complete darkness? In the dark, your pupils dilate, wider and wider, to let in as much light as possible, fumbling for the slightest flicker, because darkness is nothing, except the lack of light. Darkness is a void that light too easily fills. It doesn’t have to be completely dark for light to take over. It’s darkness that spreads when light fades; there are no beams of darkness. Darkness doesn’t even have a chance.