Tonight, arriving home from an especially boisterous choir rehearsal, I go unthinkingly about my usual routine. I switch one living room light on. I head straight for the bedroom, feel for the ceiling fan switch and turn that on. I almost go for the bedside lamp next…but today I decide to deviate, for reasons irrelevant, and manoeuvre to the other side of the bedroom to first set my handbag down.
And then that’s when I notice that room felt different; it held a special peace today. I see why. Moonlight had made its determined way through the haze, found its way through the window and fallen to rest in a serene, slightly oddly-shaped luminescent square on the floor.
It’s so insignificant but beautiful, so I take out my phone and try to take a picture of it. That turns out to be silly, because the photo comes out pitch black. I realise this is a moment too natural and too transient for my technology to immortalise…and decide, instead, to just stand at the window for a moment and take in the glowing silence that had blanketed the world. Suddenly I’m not quite so scared of the dark anymore.
It’s so silent outside. I look down. The garden is deserted. The cheery blues and greens have been swallowed up by the dark and by sleep and there isn’t a sound to be heard. In the chequerboard of windows opposite, the lit windows are equally motionless. The silhouettes of a conversing couple on a balcony are the only signs of life, but even they are still, like two figures dabbed carelessly into a painting. Two living room lights go off, followed almost immediately by the coming on of sleepy bedroom lights.
In the distance, the haze has lent an ashen sheen to the sparkly orange of the lights. Through this haze, well-lit highways, if well-imagined, look like a row of stars queueing to get onto the sky. I hear a police siren. I hear a motorcycle revving its engine. I hear a honk…but these are silent, more silent than my thoughts. More silent than the contentment that has taken me, standing at an 18th floor window of a building on top of a hill, isolated, insulated, looking down from a distance from the dead, dangerous city below.