At Night: No Form

At night I leave the room, to retire perhaps, but retain in my mind’s eye the shape of the space. When I – awakened by the irrhythms of cold cold rain against the silent house – return to the room – softly lit at odd angles by the weak light glowing from the old outlet – the form of things has changed. I see in my periphery a dark vessel on the countertop, new and unfamiliar, a lightless interruption, a silhouette revision of the recollected room. It is not large, but it takes up so much space, a shadow casting shadows from the edge of sight through blindspots into the fractal falling cavern of my blurred memory. My recall mechanisms are slow and dull, the comparison between what perhaps was and what perhaps is drawn out and confused by the lateness of the hour, so when I finally turn and face the emptiness in the dark, I cannot recall if the vessel was never there or ever not there. I reach out to grasp whatever it is or isn’t but find only the empty night, which will not be held. The persistence of the form, radiating outward down the halls of hazy memory, perplexes me as though some teacher in my youth had taught me – in some eerily prescient depiction of this very moment involving an undefinable form violating the overlap of sense and memory – that my own awareness of it should necessarily negate my belief in it, or my experience of it. That my mind drawing out the outline of it meant that there could be no outline to draw. Yet there it remains. Fully not to be seen, but deeply unavoidable whenever I turn away. After a time, I resolve myself, and I turn away from turning away, to look fully at where I believe the misunderstanding to persist, and find the nothingness eradicated, filled simply with an empty countertop. I place my empty palm on the cool surface, staring hard at the space that had, having earlier been filled by the void of a vessel filled with nothing, left me so unsettled. The mirror, so close to hand, hasn’t changed either way, and I cannot be sure if I am recognizable in the frame of the refraction, or even in it at all. It is in this other periphery, or the newer memories of what spilled across its face, that I find that the other perception of the dark vessel may never have existed in the first place. That refocusing my attention on the space in the mirror in the dark in the recollected room where I believed myself to be reflected reflected back to me the history of the space, having never had within it a vessel at night.

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