In the last curling hours of night, as darkness receded into the folds of itself in anticipation of the cold touch of morning, the baker rose from his wife’s side and strode into the smothering night.
The ghosts of night clicked, shot and creaked themselves in response to the invisible life hidden in the cover of dark. Invisible, hidden life.
A splash of water softened the warmth of sleep off the baker’s face and tethered him to wakefulness; to mindfulness. Awaking him mid-dream, the water called its siren song so the baker could leave the world of Morpheus and rejoin the dismal living. Alert – his mind aware of the clanking and squeeking of the end of nightfall – the baker returned to the bedroom and let his gaze fall on his wife’s body. Nineteen years of age; they’ve only celebrated their two years of life together before baker senior closed his bakery for the last time, leaving his son enclosed in the responsibility of maintaining it. Now the village came to him.
He went back to the bathroom. Candle lit, he stared at the face in front of him in the mirror. The wayward eyebrows, the bags under his eyes, the faint pink of an old scar from his days of childish roaming adventures in the forest surrounding the village.
There was still anonimity in it – the scar – a mundane recognition that lent itself to boredom on most days. But at night it was anonimity. We all change into different people in the dark, become hidden – irrevocably inside ourselves. And from it comes not self recognition but a drowning into the self alone.
The baker stared long enough to forget himself in the mirror.
Then he remembered.
And he forgot himself in the reflection.
The dying hours of night were almost done and he wanted coffee as dark as the final hour before sun break.
In the kitchen, the water patiently waited in its pot for the fire to warm it.
The pot bubbled. He loved it when the bubbles bubbled up. Slowly at first, one by one they were released, taking away whatever air they could capture. Then they got angry and the maelstrom begun. Eddies rose and from them vapor and little motes of light dancing above the water and subsiding before they reached the fire below. Against this background, the dancing gathered steam and the motes multiplied. A whirlpool of dancing lights skidded and turned to skid at the other side before rising and joining their sister motes in a spinning radiance.
All the while, the baker watched. Sleep slowly left his eyes, drawn to the motes’ light like moths to a fire. It is good to bask in the light. The stove fire was shadowed by the motes and in a little while was engulfed.
Everything ends in radiance, the baker thought, lit and then forever in darkness.
Even the dark outside would be gone.
Lost between his thoughts and the motes, the baker followed them both outside. there was the whirly luminousness of light, streaming from the kitchen window, playing with the reality surrounding it.
Or maybe it was the morning light finally arriving.
That was the trouble with light; its hard to decide on reality without it.
It swells but when it comes, it’s suddenly in full bloom with exploding colours.
Only for a few hours every day.
In the midst of the motes, the baker flew; not across the sky but in a sudden, slow, vertical assent towards a blue of changing hues. The baker shined over the kingdom of man, seperated from it by the oncoming light and there he was held – a figure just awake.
The day had started and so had the village.