When I came out of the bathroom into the bedroom, I heard the motor running for the electric shutter. K was lowering the slatted blind to block out the moonlight as we prepared for bed. Later, the celestial lantern will be full again, or nearly so, on this, the third night of milky brilliance from dusk to dawn. She said it disturbs her sleep. The insidious sphere was one culprit along with the increasingly precocious sunrise at this time of year. She resolved the room tonight to maximum darkness.
I grumbled a little and thought about my two previous morning starts. I had been up early, before the moon set. I was swimming in the glow and it bestowed such a lovely virtue to the pre-dawn exercises (breathing, stretching and gently waking ). In addition, there was the pleasure in knowing of the lunar eclipse (between Monday and Tuesday and apparently the first in a series of total lunar eclipses). As it turns out, the eclipse was not actually visible in our region of the world, but I saw the warm-up for the wrestling match of shadows.
Here now, as the shutter cluttered down, I was reminded of just what an excellent sleeper is K. I joke with her about it; that she has the skill level of a professional. Once asleep, if schedule permits, she can linger twelve hours in bed, comfortably, raptly. I, on the other hand, barely fulfil a regular seven-hour quota. This seems to be because I am a ‘morning person’, whereas K has a natural inclination to night owl, or at least evening fairy. I think that may explain the need for utter darkness.
With darkness, of course, comes dreams, and K is a good dreamer. I see it permeates her sleep and guides her waking hours, too. Effectively, she brims with ideas in both realms. I, for the most part, leave dreams interred in their cavities of night. With rare exception, I manage to trap vague recollections of nighttime brain activity, but hardly much. Ironically, it is I who keeps a dream journal. As the motorized shutter finishes its descent, I resign to imagine the hidden moon in my dreams, should I be fortunate enough to remember I have had them.
We climb into bed. Just after turning out the light, K starts up in bed. She remembers that there is a countdown on an eBay bidding she had made earlier in the day. It concludes at around five AM European Time. The item that she was bidding on is a Telikin computer, for her elderly mother in California. I turn on the light and get out of bed to go restart the router for WiFi access. This device shuts off automatically at night in order to reduce radio emissions while we sleep.
Frankly though, we are bathed in those from our downstairs neighbours, whose signal seems stronger then ours. So, I don’t know if it does any good. But, in any case, the device restarts in manual mode and we return to bed. K has found her iPad and I lean back in groggy bewilderment to listen to her browsing. She verifies the status. She has been outbid by five dollars. She raises her bid five dollars above that and then sets her alarm for five (that’s a lot of fives). She plans to make a final bid just before deadline. We kiss goodnight and both fall asleep.
She does it like pro, and I like an etherised patient stretched out in the shuttered blackness of night.
Somewhere around four-thirty I wake for whatever reason in spite of the tiny luxury of not actually needing to wake at the usual time. I drink a sip of water and stumble into the toilet (that’s probably what woke me). In returning to bed I see the moonlight is in fact partially visible through the slats of the shutters. I have a moment of gratitude that it was not blocked tight. I decide to wake K a little before she had expected it. She stirs as if out of the grave, and with remarkable diligence decides if another counter bid is necessary for the sacred Telikin. In fact, before making it she thinks twice, then thrice, and then, with the deadline 30 minutes away, elects to fall back asleep until the alarm, at the critical final minutes. The strategy has her quickly back in dreamland, as I lie awake observing the effect of the shutter on moonlight like a giant polarizer aligning the light into strips of black and twinkle.
Shortly after, K’s alarm sounds. The alarm melody makes me imagine a parade of ghosts of long-dead game-show hosts. Naturally, I see them marching along a moonlit boulevard. K, awaking eager to see the changes in bidding, ignites a second moon with the blazing screen of her iPad. I vow to show her how to dim her screen someday when she’s open to a lesson. She comes to find that the counter bidding is being done automatically by the opposing bidder (it seems they are only two in contention for the Telikin).
The final minutes countdown. She wonders again about the whole idea of this sort of specialised computer. Why not better to find something basic and inexpensive and set it up for her mom, who after all, is not a complete illiterate on the computer. In the end, the deadline passes and K concedes the contest with little regret, though she’s found another solution. We agree to talk about it in the morning and lie back to yield to the coaxing semi-darkness and fall back to slumberland. Meanwhile, the moon, oh graceful orb, is left unobserved searching for its starry bed, and so to fill our dreams in the quiet bidding the leads to dawn.