The fireflies blinked close to the ground in a game of silent hide and go seek as two boys pumped vigorously to fill their buckets. I sat on the steps peering up beyond the silhouette of the palm trees at my front door. Tonight was the first night since I’ve been here that I’ve really seen stars. Tonight the usual cloud covering resembled a jumble of cloth someone had swept to the side – streaks of static electricity marking the wrinkles and momentarily lighting the sky- leaving a clear view up. And the absence of power on our end of the compound offered darkness as a contrast to the twinkling overhead.

Something must be wrong with the grid. The generator roared as loud as ever as we went in search of candles. The hospital and homes closer to the generator burned lights bright and inviting as ever, but on our side – further away from the noise- the light bulbs looked more like candles and the one 220 outlet in the house couldn’t produce enough energy to power the tiny part-time refrigerator or our short circuiting two burner stove. We ate by dull bulb and flickering candles, our eyes trying desperately to adjust to the dim light and failing.

We were quiet tonight, as if the absence of light marked the absence of noise too. None of our usual laughter or friendly ribbing. Wry-ly retired to her room and BushDiva to hers. I sat in the living room pecking away on my computer, conspicuous that the door was open even as we were unable to see outside because the lone-street light vanished periodically as power surged and then retreated. Finally, after giving up on the idea of a breeze in the still dark air, I locked the door and retreated to my room.

Stubborn or optimistic, the almost useless light casts eerie shadows through my room. Voices from outside float through my open windows as the breeze picks up – a peace offering for our dark night.

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