Silent Night

Monday night. 11:05 PM. I’m in bed only slightly later than I had hoped. The fan is blowing, I see the faint glow of the living room down the hall, and I shut my eyes. I am ready to fall asleep after a very long day.

Suddenly, there is a whir, a flicker of lights, and everything stops. It’s dark. It’s silent. It’s weird.

I slowly make my way back to the living room, unable to see anything. Buzz. It’s so dark. Buzz. We keep all of the blinds in our apartment shut to avoid the greenhouse effect (seriously), so to get some light in we open them. Buzz. Buzz. Buzz. Buzz. City light shines in and we can see silhouetted tables and chairs.

Buzz. Someone is freaking out in the elevator. I don’t blame them, I would freak out if I got stuck in the elevator during a power outage. Buzz “But seriously, if they wake Alex up I’m going to rip them a new one.”

I get back in bed. It’s so dark. It’s so quiet. Buzz. Except for the occasional buzzing. My ears are ringing. How do I make my ears stop ringing? It’s so quiet! I open the blinds in our bedroom to let some city light in. Buzz. I open the window for noise. No air comes through our windows because we seem to miraculously have no wind. I can hear the busses below start and stop their engines. Finally, some sound.

I close my eyes. It’s so quiet. Buzz. The person is still freaking out in the elevator. I’m freaked out by how quiet it still is. A car drives by and I wish it would drive by again and again and again.

It’s sometime after 1:00 AM. There is a shake and a whir. The air conditioning is on, the fan is blowing on my feet, the alarm clock is emitting light. I can sleep. Finally.

How do people live in the middle of nowhere? How do you live where it is dark and so very quiet? When I first went to college I remember how dark and quiet it was there. At night, unless you were right in the middle of downtown Northampton, it was pitch black. As long as you were away from the college, there was no sound but the crickets. I eventually slept with a fan year round.