Night Owl

~ a short story

Orion drank in eventide’s crisp delights. He was in his obsidian ambiance now, considering. This time of night represented his final reprieve from the day’s chaotic march of disruption and compulsion. The feeling was temporary, however, like everything else; to him, it seemed more so every passing year. And so he took advantage of this time. He sat on his throne, on the balcony of his homestead. The fresh nightly air restored the life that was lost during the day. He wrote in his diary, his journal, his chronological mindspace. He held no pen other than one in his mind. Laying back in assumed peace, his hands & body relaxed, he let his mind wander in the waters of the past, present, and future rivers of time. The conscious reflection of his fancy would soar up and down through the airs of obscurity, landing for seconds at a time on an inclination or a dream, before leaping again. He would think of practical things, decisions that needed to be made, vocational moves, the direction of a relationship. Truthfully, he spent a lot of time thinking about other people. Then he would spin on a dime to ruminations on the nature of his own consciousness, the time Before and After his transient breaths, thinking on how he thinks. It was not a ‘retreat,’ Orion would insist. It was a ‘meditation,’ a release in the dark from the adversity of the sol. The twilight introspection was as sacred to him as his love, or his fears. So here he was tonight, reflecting again on nothing in particular in the pitches of the witching hour.

Orion directed his view into the night sky above the stories of his hearth, above the rabble of everything he knew. The light out here could not pollute its majesty, so he saw everything. Every formation, the variations of the glows reaching through the annals of cosmogonic eras long past. The starlight was a story from long ago, he knew. He basked in the memoir of the cosmos, closing his eyes in a spiritual acquiescence.

Readying a surrender of the fate of this night to this peaceful close, Orion’s darkened pupils opted for the recognition of a flash above him just before the fall of unconsciousness overtook him. Orion opened his eyes with a swell of breath. A shooting star. He witnesses a blue-white streaking light against the drapery of the sky just above his seat. In all his time living here, engaging in his communion with the night sky, he had never witnessed one. Orion watched its full span of existence, brightly shining onto his deck until its illusory fade from view. He considered the enduring tradition of such a star. A wish?

Orion pondered the idea of a wish. A wish represented a desire. What do I want? His mind rushed to the simple, the mundane. Wishing for material gain was low, fruitless, and for him, quite meaningless. There wasn’t any ‘material’ that he wanted. No amount of money that could satisfy those things within him that were missing. There was no car, no gadget, no place more fit for his purposes than the one he currently found himself within. Even given a condition of squalor and poverty, why waste such an opportunity on things? A wish could be engaged upon anything, internally of the soul or external, upon the world. He could wish for true love. He could wish for world peace. Orion would be content with either wish, knowing their necessity. But something irked him about the nature of such grand wishes. They were vague and open to interpretation. And the resulting answer to such a charge was big, perhaps too much to expect. How could one man’s little dream achieve such a grandiose vision? Maybe peace or love could be achieved with half the world looking up at the same star and mouthing that desire. Maybe if afterward, they all came together to enact that vision, grasping that desire in forthright passion. Maybe. Orion couldn’t trust himself alone with it. It would be a misuse of the power. But what? He needed more time to think, a more clear canvas upon which to dictate such a monumental decision. To his surprise, Orion realized the approach of dawn peeking over the trees, bringing an abrupt and ruefully shining end to his revelations.

In this moment, Orion calmly yearns a thought: I wish it was always night.