by Anthony Akins
The night is beautiful. The way the stars twinkle in the distance. The way the crescent moon glows down below. The wind is timid, yet powerful. It traverses the land, whistling in the blue darkness. It is never pitch-black; rather, the world is covered with navy blue. The clouds darken. The sun vanishes beneath the horizon. After hours, I come up to the hill just outside of downtown. The sky grows dimmer and dimmer with every step I take. A grandeur reduced to nothing more than a cluster of white lights. They are pretty to look at, but the darkness of the night fascinates me. It always has.
The ambience is beautiful. At the dead of night, the quiet becomes loud. I can hear the rustling of my boots as I trudge up the hill. The crunch of the grass. The wail of the wind. The chirp of the crickets. It’s all loud, but never deafening. It fills the emptiness of the night, but it isn’t noisy or overbearing. There are no people here. No children. No busy people. No roads in which cars go to and fro. Just me. The sound of my breath echoes in the night. I place a hand on my chest. THUMP THUMP. My heart beats steadily. That’s when it hits me: I am alone.
It wasn’t always like this. I used to come here with my friends, matter of fact. “Let’s play Bucket Hoop, Sarah,” they’d say, or “Let’s study on the hill, Sarah” or “Let’s tell each other secrets, Sarah." There was always something to do. It was never something I came up with, but something nevertheless. “Sarah” this, and “Sarah” that. I’d be lying if I say I didn’t miss it. But now, it’s just me. Times change. People move on. Yet here I am. I finally get to enjoy what I’ve always wanted. I get to enjoy the night for what it is. A lonesome girl who quietly enjoys the night, they’d say. Lonesome, indeed.
The sky is beautiful. The colors blend seamlessly, like someone glided a paintbrush across the world. The deep purple. The timid blue. The graceful indigo. And, lastly, the lonely red. I sit down for a moment to gaze at it, with my legs outstretched. The weather’s nice enough for me to wear shorts and a T-Shirt. I take off my glasses and wipe the lenses with my sleeve. For a moment, I try to look at the sky once more, but it’s nothing more than an aggravating blur. Dammit. My hair flows with the wind. That feels nice. I look back down at those tiny rectangular reflections, staring back at myself. My face is stoic and blank. My sage eyes are dull. I am nothing like the night. I can’t even come close. I am just a secondary piece in the grander scale of things. The most I can wish for is that my eyes can be like the stars. You talk nonsense, Sarah. I put the glasses back on.
The stars are beautiful. They never move; they stay there, sparkling and illuminating over the world. What’s it like being so far away from the world, yet close enough to be gazed up upon?
When I was younger, I used to think they were guardian angels watching over us. The brighter they were, the stronger they were. My brother saw them as the spirits of our late relatives watching over us. Now, I see them as they are: simply stars. They don’t have a conscious. They don’t have thoughts. They don’t move on. They don’t judge. They don’t leave you behind. They don’t cry. They’re just there; twinkling spectacles unwavering in the dark. They are always there, even when the sun is out.
There are so many of them, and only one of me.
Perhaps my reason for sitting alone on this hill is that I envy the night. I envy its natural beauty. I envy its profound nature and serene ambience. They were not able to see that. Who knows if they ever will? Perhaps it is selfish of me to come here all alone, wanting to soak in the magnificence for myself. I can’t help but wish I’m a star. Sometimes I wish I never had these thoughts, and that I could go on about my life. They came to the hill looking for something to do, and I come here looking for something to be. But alas, we are second to stars. I can barely see ahead of me without these lenses. I hate it. A star doesn’t need glasses to see. A star can bask in its glory all on its own. Yet, we attempt to match that with our city lights or flashy billboards. We are second to the night. It is no use trying to be greater than what we are.
The name manifests itself in my mind. I never thought to give this hill a name. Not I, nor any of them. Yet sitting here, all alone, the name appears. It’s not intrusive or surprising. It’s as if I merely discovered the hill’s name, rather than making one up. I wonder if the hill wishes to be a star, instead of being the stepping stone for others. Imagine that. Others use you, they walk all over you, and some ruin you. I wonder if the hill has feelings. I wonder, does it envy the night? Does it feel lonely? Does it wish it could be something more? Secunda, away from the city, and away from everything else. All Alone. A lonesome land that quietly enjoys the night. Indeed, what a beautiful night.