Thursday, May 6, 2010

There Will Be No More Natural Light

There was a storm last night in Pittsburgh, heavy on the lightning with a good measure of thunder. It had just started when I dragged myself upstairs to bed. It was still going when I shot awake, an hour and a half later, still a bit stuck in a nightmare.

I had been dreaming that the Reverend, Mikey, and I were at an outdoor convention. From the view of the city, it seemed that we were on the Northside. There were tents everywhere and people milled around, mingling. The happy buzz of conversation that I associate with the Pittsburgh Comicon was the prevalent background.

Suddenly, as events often occur in dreams, it seemed that I had been somehow sexually harassed. The next thing I remember is an appalled Mikey, running after the offender. He was much faster than I imagine he would be in real life. He managed to knock the guy down and then there was the Reverend, out of nowhere. He had a look of righteous indignation on his face and he was about to grab my assailant by the shirt and haul him to his feet.

That was when the sky started going black.

First, giant columns of smoke started rising from the buildings on the horizon. I saw this, from my point of view, on an upward camera angle. In the center, Rev's corduroy jacket and Mikey's ever present black and white wingtips: the boys stood with their feet apart, braced while they stared upward. Smoke began to roll in from all corners of the sky, until it obliterated the last tiny bit of light in the center. It wasn't like the smoke on Lost, I should say. It was a dark gray, sinister and much more real-looking. There was white noise.

My eyes were drawn to a big screen set up in one of the booths. Since this was a nightmare, it was tuned to Fox News. The sanitary anchorman mouthed words that I couldn't hear, but I could read the headline, right above a gobbledygook stream of nonsense words.

It said, "There Will Be No More Natural Light."

That was when I woke up, terrified. Lightning was still intermittently illuminating the room, but the house was otherwise quiet. I think it was the quiet that made me panic. I nudged Rev, who was blissfully unaware of the fact that the sky had closed. Bless his heart, he stayed up to calm me down. I told him about it once I recovered from the hitching breath and shock. I rarely remember my dreams anymore, so the verisimilitude of the nightmare really got to me.

Today at lunch, I sat under what felt like the bluest sky I had ever seen. Light was everywhere. It was such a relief. I spent my whole lunch break outside, reading and convincing myself that it was all indeed still there.

I didn't really appreciate the simple fact of the sky until today.