The pale, white glow of my computer screen manifests itself onto the smudged lenses of my eyeglasses and careens past me onto the far wall behind my head. My roommate is gone, as are most of the students in my residence hall. Tonight is the night of the big dance, where eager hearts burn wild with the possibilities that come from the potential of a new romance. And yet here I sit, letting the light from the immaterial world dance like newfound lovers before my fixated, determined eyes and flash upon my quiet, solitary room. Pervasive silence lingers heavy like the smell of laundry waiting to be washed. Perhaps that smell is less symbolic, and more literal, as I have not done my laundry in weeks. It is the fifth week of my Freshman year of college, and I am already disillusioned and ready to leave. I glance at my clock, moving my eyes but not my head away from my randomly-generated Wikipedia page that reads “Apollo 12” to see that it is now 2:13 am. I do not feel tired. I do not feel much of anything, and I am very much alone. I am a stranger in this foreign land; an aimless, voiceless phantom unable to be heard. I stand, no differently than does a tree. I move no differently than does the wind. I exist no more importantly than you or anyone else. And so, I often spend these darkened hours by myself, dead to the world. I prefer these solitary evenings, though. Oftentimes I go on walks, allowing the triumphant stillness of the world to tantalize my senses, each of the five given a spectacular and personal display of nature’s immutable wonder in such ways unseen amidst the burning sun. I, like the moon, linger almost unnoticed during the daylight hours but come truly alive at night when the world is dark and still; I shine brightest when there are the fewest left to see.
There is an admissible awesomeness to the sheer and perfect silence that befalls the shadowed world of night, and such feelings cannot be replicated by the light of day. I hit “random article” again, this time landing on “The Falling Man (Auguste Rodin)”. “Wikipedia is a weird place”, I think, and I decide to go get some fresh, laundered air. I turn off my computer and throw on my hoodie, the cleanest-looking thing from the pile in the corner of the room by the door, ignoring its obvious stains. I then also grab my backpack, toss my phone charger, my laptop, all its associated accessories, and a bottle of vodka inside it, as I make my way outdoors. My usual quiet nights are invaded by inebriated revelers and loud, obtrusive dance music. I put my hood on my head, my headphones in my ears, and my hands into the pocket of my tattered sweatshirt as I soldier on through the vast alcoholic sea of drunkards and walk away from the dormitories.
These darkened hours are when I do my most profound thinking, away from those who would perturb and disturb me when the sun is high in the sky. But something inside me was changing. An overwhelming desire to give socializing another chance clings to me like a stench and refuses to leave me in peace. I think to myself of the fun everyone else is having. Perhaps I should try to be like them. Tonight could be my night, I think. Tonight could be the night that I am like the sun. I will imitate its warmth, I will make myself seen and understood and even possibly loved in front of people who will finally see me and know who I am. But as I walked out into the street, making my way towards the big dance, eager, for the first time in my life to not be alone, an SUV that reeked of cheap beer and poor judgment also went out in that street. In a brief moment, the sun met the moon in a violent syzygy and the whole world exploded in shades of vibrant red that painted dawn upon the street with a sickly crimson hue. I saw the stars fade out, one by one, until neither sun nor moon, nor those stars above could be seen, and the darkness once again overtook the earth.