Flashlight Eyes

It was so very long ago when he said it, and he was so very small.  I didn’t understand exactly what he meant but I thought it might be his super power; the ability to see in the night, to be able to anticipate the uneven spots in the dirt, to be calm about the dark forms moving around us, dark forms that inevitably turned out to be the dogs.

He was unconcerned about what might be lurking in the rocks up the hillside or what could be following along, undetected in the field.  Sometimes he would say it with a touch of annoyance as I switched on the high powered torch to show us our way to evening chores.

It wasn’t that I didn’t believe him.  Secretly, I envied him in fact, to have such a super power, but I needed the bright beam of light to feel confident that I was protecting my children from the prowling wild creatures.

He isn’t so very small anymore, and he no longer accompanies me on my evening walk.  The hand-held torch is also a thing of the past; instead a light rides on my forehead like a peculiar third-eye, illuminating my way no matter where I turn.

But tonight, I can feel his super power with me and I reach up to switch the beam off.

Suddenly, I’m more aware of the crunching sound my feet make in the pitch black of the gravel road.  Then, gradually, shapes emerge, distinguishing themselves from the shadows of the horizon; bush and tree and rock and dog surprisingly detailed in the moonless night.

I look up to the stars, billions and billions of them dancing and winking, the cloud of the Milky Way a little off center, bisecting the sky, and I think how very much there is to see without the imposed perspective of civilization, when one has a super power inherited from a child.

©2019 Annette Meserve

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