I sat at the balcony and surveyed the gray night that spread like a shroud. The rain had just stopped, bringing up a heat that lay secretive underground, with a band of moths that circled the gloomy streetlight. The flutter of its wings betrayed what was to come with in a few moments but the relative time, the illusion’s partner, gave, as usual, a confidence to them as it does to all, about the imbibed concept of eternal life. They seemed to escalate the brightness of the idle light that reflected off their wings. The dynamism impressed me more than their presence of mind.
I held back thoughts, about life’s fleeting nature, stirred by the circling moths and looked beyond the opposite street. A few lights haven’t yet ‘slumbered’ in the blocks at a distance. Aloof in a corner of the firmament an aircraft flew silently, at times giving a faint murmur not quite audible to a languid mind. The rotating lights blinking and disappearing in to a world of fantasy. I tried to fancy the kind of people inside it, their images were as vague as the dreams they carried with them.
The strains of an old song long forgotten floated in the air. A cool breeze caressed me to make me comfortable in my indolence. Wasn’t there a pale shadow of emptiness that enveloped me? I could not discriminate between the feelings of monotony and weariness, the stillness of time had instilled. I looked further than and saw in the dim light the visage of an old man moving around in his room a few blocks away. I wondered what occupied his mind at that point of time. The river of time had flowed past, the last drops about to reach the destination. The old man now sat at a place and began writing some thing.
The moths were not many now. Some of them were now lying under the post, waiting, their wings lost. The neighbor’s cat so familiar with my household was loitering around the electric post playing foolish pranks. All cats behave like strangers outside their houses.
The blaring of a siren far away roused me from my thoughts. A fire engine or an ambulance? I gazed casually at the opposite house. The old man was still writing. The night sky turned to a dull gray. A few stars emerged .I didn’t know where the moon was. I looked at the cedar now fresh and clean from the rains. The tree seemed to rain, the lingering thoughts of the past. A bat flew in and hung on it. Wondered what it felt about this night, or day? It must be living where the world ended, only conscious of itself. I thought the bat was fortunate to be basking in the absolute truth of being. Who knows?
All lights in the houses in front except the old man’s went off. The night was beautiful. I could see it, feel it. There was a hint of fragrance of the night flowers in the air mixed with one reeking fish from the deeps a few miles away. The night sea would be magnificent and dreadful with snakelike frothy edges touching one unawares. Coming back to ‘the here and now’ my mind fell into a lull. An owl’s persistent drone rent the air. A scarred moon was now faintly visible through the veil of a dark cloud as the last of the moths disappeared. An old dog howled fearfully. I woke up abruptly; the dawn was about to break but it was still black. I gazed carelessly in front. The light in the old man’s house was still on.