I’m lying down on the cushioned bed, eyes closed, my arm hanging from one side, searching for a gush of cool, nighttime air. The night sky is full of flickering planes. I can hear them crossing through the clouds like forgotten satellites, patrolling an unknown, far-away land. Their jet-streams leaving invisible marks, unique signatures of memories, soon to dissipate into the darkness of the night just as fast as they were created, and with them, their traces, lost, like a thought that follows you, yet one you can’t remember.
Ironically, it’s only at night, mostly, when we seem to remember.
I open my eyes. They are fixed on the dark ceiling. From the corner of one eye, I notice only that soft floor light I couldn’t extinguish earlier, blinking, and brightening up the small corridor. I reach for some more light, trying to find the lamp’s switch, stretching my fingers just enough to realize that I can’t quite make out where it is. After all, this is a strange land, just another beautiful structure that is housing me for the night. It’s not home, but somehow it became exactly that, and more. The hotel became the birthplace of clarity, the factory of consummate nostalgia.
More light could perhaps make me forget. It could teleport my thoughts back to reality. Back to what I was supposed to be doing. Perhaps even, back into a deep sleep. Is that why so many of us sleep with the lights on? I wonder. Are we afraid of the monster under the bed, or the one living inside our head? Without any source of light, our greatest thought factories come alive, like tiny industrial towns working through the night, consolidating while lamenting, making sure we won’t forget. They are inquisitive; they make us question everything and anything. They thrive on darkness; they rely on the absence of light in order to brighten up our soul with the inner glow of our recollections.
‘What if’ is the currency of the night.
During the day, if we look up on a clear sky, we might notice jet-streams forming in the distance, painting the vast blue with foamy, white lines, tracing shapes of clouds on top of real ones, the sounds muffled against the shout of daily life. But we probably won’t; we’ll be too busy to notice.
In the morning, ‘what if’ becomes ‘why not,’ daylight giving us courage, forming the shield of adulthood that makes us forget, that pushes us to move forward, that prevents us from looking up. It allows us to navigate strange lands, to settle into the comforts of a hotel room with deep certainty that our thoughts are welcomed there, just as much as we wish they weren’t. It gives us the bravery to entrust this foreign room with the capacity to process everything that’s going to happen on this day when the clock strikes sunset.
Daytime creates memories,
Nighttime consumes them.