When I was in New York, it was very, very dark at night. My son and I slept at my friend Chrissie’s house a couple of times. She is on the “main” road but just beyond her backyard is a field that is usually planted with something. She has a chicken coop in her yard, groundhogs under her front porch, mice in her cupboard (they may be gone now) and once a crazy raccoon in the tree just outside her upstairs bathroom window. It is the country. My son and I slept in her daughter’s room when we were there. I quickly realized how dark the night actually is. I could not see my hand in front of my face much less my son in the bed across the way. I ended up downloading a nightlight app for my phone which did the trick.
On my first night back in Hawaii, I wasn’t sure how my son would react to being home, in his own bed. I was worried that he might wander out of his bedroom in the middle of the night (despite the fact that he has never done that before). When I finally went to bed that night, I put on my nightlight app on my phone before turning off the light in the room where we sleep. Of course, living in the heart of town, in Makiki, there is no darkness. Even with all the lights off in our place, it is still possible to navigate and find things. The neighbors directly behind us leave their outside light on all night long. We are lit by other apartments’ ambient light from nearby windows. My app is worthless in urban Honolulu. We also have no chickens, mice, groundhogs or raccoons.
We have been back in Hawaii for almost one month. As much as we think we are adjusted. As much as we think we are back in the groove. As much as we think we are settled. I know that we are not. We are still feeling our way, as a family, as a student, as an employee, as someone in a committed loving relationship. I feel that we are in the dark. Feeling our way. Reaching out to recognize the shapes, the topography of our lives that we know is there but we just can’t see. There within our reach, if only we could see it. If only it were as simple as turning on the nightlight app.