Why is it that daydreams and hopes have a tendency to dissolve in the morning, like snow when spring arrives?
The evening before, or even the afternoon, in that cusp between darkness and light, when the sky is suffused with a strange blend of dark-blue and gold and the world seems hushed and magical like a spell waiting to happen, everything feels possible.
You are often alone at this time, either working, or relaxing after a day of work. Now and then, you turn away from whatever it is you are focused on to look out the window, and muse. Ironically, hope fills you with light as the world dims – it is as if, along with the mystery and magic that accompanies the approaching night, your dreams grow more real and potent also.
For me, what I find is that my self-confidence tends to rise at this time; it is as if the incoming darkness allows me to idealize everything – even myself. When I look in the mirror, I am startled by my own reflection (what midnight creature in yonder glade is this?). Possibly this is due to the dimmer lighting, which is useful for hiding any blemishes, but I am still me, only my mindset is different. Is this perhaps why people like to go out clubbing at night – because they feel more beautiful then than during daytime?
Fantasies increase in frequency: I begin to imagine myself whirling off to far-off lands, falling in love at some lonely hotel with red-checkered tablecloths, plastic flowers teetering on their windowsills and showers that spit rusty water; or strolling through some French-style avenue, wrapped in wind and romance, my dark hair swirling in silent jubilation. My imagination also goes on overdrive, spinning idea after idea in a tangled mess, most of which I will shake my head at and scrunch up and throw into the wastepaper basket the next morning. Still, the feeling of my heart cracking open, in a flood of sweet creativity, is quite wonderful.
Most of all, as night draws near, the shadows pooling in the corners of the streets, I begin to believe in myself more, and my dreams. Perhaps it is only due to my tendency to idealize everything; perhaps daylight is too harsh a reminder of reality. I do not know. What I do know is that my dreams, most of which, from where I am standing now, look like collosal mountains I must climb, rearing up against the sky in the distance, suddenly seem but a few hops, skips and jumps away. And when I arrive at the base, I am certain a staircase will miraculously appear, snaking up the steep inclines to take me to the Heavens – or at least the clouds.
But that all fades in the morning when I awaken alone in bed, faced with another cold, slightly lonely day. I realise, with a sharp pang, that the staircase was only a mirage, fading with the rising sun; that there is no easy way to climb mountains, no shortcut, except to take it step by step, without lifting your head to see just how far you still have to go. I am not some femme-fatale waltzing in a romantic movie, ready to be serenaded by an artist who makes his living selling paintings in galleries and on the streets – just a shy, socially anxious girl, who likes reading, and writing, and dreams too much for her own good. And there is no certainty, no guarantee in this life. None at all.
One thing does remain, however, and that is hope. The hope is still there, a glimmering deep inside my chest. No matter how depressed or lonely I become, as everyone is at some point in their lives, no matter how disheartened and self-hating, I will always have hope. It is a reality that will never fade, regardless of whether the sun is shining or the stars are out, and sometimes, such constants are better than a thousand daydreams.