“The night is darkest before the dawn.”
How do you measure the darkness at 9pm or at 5am (just before dawn)?
Or is this one of those clichés that means something when it is bereft of any logic?
How long has my night been? A decade? Twenty years? I cannot put my finger on any definite date when dusk turned into night. It happened somewhere, sometime. Perhaps it started with when the bursts of joy from life got shorter and shorter. Then, the memories of them became more and more distant until they turned into myths. Before I knew it, I was in this long and obviously dark place called “night”.
I could have substituted “place” with “tunnel”. However, in the absence of any light source, I have no idea where the exit of this tunnel is. So, it will stay a place. And perhaps with the absence of light for the longest time, like a tunnel without exit, here is my night without a dawn.
While it is cold in here, little bits and pieces of life warm me. Like family. Like how my gramps would grasp my hand tightly whenever visiting hours at the old folks’ home were up. Like the occasional kiss she would plant on my hand when it really should have been the other way round. Like observing the glow from the warmth of love emanating from the face of the ex-sarong kebaya girl as it looks certain that she has found “The One” in her life.
Other than all of these, it is cold. I’ve learnt to live with it, really. In fact, I love the cold – the colder, the better. It can sometimes gnaw at me, reminding me of the harsh realities of life and waking me up from my dreams. It bites at me, enhancing greatly the isolation that envelopes me.
However, a far worse torture than this is silence. Of course, if I tread very slowly like a thief in the night, the beats of my heart would break it. Yet more often than not, it is this almost never-ending silence that deafens and sears. It can happen anywhere too, like the time when I found myself trawling unfamiliar faces in a city of seven million or in the quiet of my room, when everyone slumbers and I stare at my computer screen, while thoughts flutter in and out of my mind, and images – faces, scenes, colours and lights – flicker on and off inside my head.
“Nothing is impossible” is a lie.
“Why isn’t it possible to do something you really want?” is a question that can either lead to enlightenment and joy or despair and sadness.
Both are clichés, used by those who cannot find the right words to say in the shortest space of time just to shatter the otherwise comfortable silence. They paint rosy pictures which can host the sinister elements of life that can destroy all hope and joy in an instant.
When one finds his dreams shattered little by little and wakes up one day with the realisation that nothing of them is left, the desire to return to innocence will grow.
But this desire will remain unfulfilled. Because no one can turn back the clock. Just like how no one can trace their way back to the “entrance” of the “tunnel”.
Just like how there exist some nights when the dawn will never come.