The power is out in the house. Initially Melody experienced it as a physical sensation, stirred from sleep by a change in the atmosphere. In the few moments before opening her eyes, she searched her senses. The first realization was taking note of her own confusion. Was it the air temperature? Is there a draft? Her ears perked up, and scanned for any ill fitting sound. A passing truck, or an airplane receding perhaps. As fine evidence of the mind’s rapid imagination, her ears scanned far away for the rumbling of an earthquake, with two heartbeats of fear during the search – this was just how out of place her awakening felt. A few moments later her eyes were open and the change had been registered – complete darkness. No, there was a pale, cool light just gracing the edges of the sheer curtains, a thin moonlight she guessed. The usual tone of the room in the full darkness of night was a mixture of colors that were ever-present – a certain pink-orange hue from the streetlight, a sharp blue glow from the digits of her alarm clock which she maintained in near proximity to her face. And there were missing sounds after all – not the sort that would wake her, but just as likely as the change in tone, she could no longer hear the soft hum of the refrigerator, or the faint buzz that seemed to move through the walls, a frequency usually noted in pauses between passing cars and occasional moments of insomnia.
Without any particularly good reason as to why, Melody was compelled to investigate, knowing full well the outage was throughout the neighborhood and did not call for dealing with the fuse box. The need to move was so urgent it held her attention, and she noticed she had sat involuntarily upright. It was like a game, a childhood recollection of playing hide and seek. With a certain exhilaration she remembered just how intensely she once was able to hold her body still, to hold the sound of her breath beneath the threshold of audibility. This seemed like some trans-temporal challenge, as though her childhood self had placed her in this situation as a sort of dare, challenging her to take the unusual happening of a power outage and turn it into an exercise of wonder. She shook her head of the fuzz and potential nonsense of such thoughts, and realized had one leg already draped over the edge of the bed, ready to move.
What followed was an epic journey, a dance and state of delirium all at once. Making her way down the hall and stairs had shifted from an uncountable and forgotten repetition to a considerable protraction of time – each step seemed to call all of her faculties to the foreground. Her hands, which she found in visible moments a bit too wiry and long for her liking, became precious eyes as she discovered they knew the spacing of the photographs on the wall, the pits on the banister where paint had chipped and been covered over again, and the curve of the light sconces far better than she could picture them in her mind. Her feet moved slow with certainty, familiar with every irregularity of the wood grain, sorting out the pills and compressions in the runner carpet, even the height of the trim that delineated the start of the kitchen tile.
Her eyes were adjusting, helped along by a small window and the glossy surfaces of the kitchen. Finding this disappointing, she turned back towards the sitting room determined to plunge again into this erstwhile game and reach the heavy curtains. They were a necessity to bar the ever-present evening intrusion of the streetlight, but now an obstacle to viewing her living room in the strange celestial glow of a purely wild and natural night. It’s not every day one gets to enjoy what is utterly familiar in an entirely new light.