There’s this shadow in our room and I don’t like it. At first I thought it was like any other but as I became more creative I paid closer attention, and now that I love making images I can feel its disdain for me. Every night before bed I see it in the corner, ridiculing me and all the efforts I make to find others like it but different. It knows about all the times I’ve walked ignorantly past subtle contrasts or interesting shapes because I was too busy or even inadequate to see they exist. This shadow knows.

While I spend energy and precious time hoping to find others like it (but better) it always lurks in the corner above our bed, staring at me with the resentment of an orphaned child. “as if any other shadow is better than me” I can hear it whisper in my ear after dissolving into our walls, when the light in our room no longer confines it.

It is unchanging; that is proof of its wisdom and its repugnance. The fact that I see it every night before I sleep, vulnerable in my bed, is all the reason I need to believe it hates me. Yet I go on every night seeing this shadow and its wicked accomplices all throughout our house, sneering at me from every corner, every room. “after all, where there is light there is a shadow…” even during daytime it’s a proper evil compliment to the hope that lay outside in the sun.

It condemns me in my weakness: “I feed off the arrogance of your venture, why do you bother searching when you do not know what you are looking for? You will never be satisfied! and I am no different than any other…”

“But I will keep looking in spite of your pessimism,” I think in partly feigned defiance.

“And you will fail miserably! I know this because you’ve already spent so much time looking for the light when it was me you were looking for all along.”

“No, it was not you. You are just a static prisoner to this room, held in place by a lamp.”

“Meaningless. I watch you every night and I know you well: your effort is pedestrian, you find no beauty in me and you can’t find it in the others.”

The Shadow, January 2016

The Shadow, January 2016

“You are bitter from your captivity! everyday you grow more jealous of the shadows that move across the ground and grow to infinite power and length by the setting sun. You are fixed, in size and shape and temper and you hate it because you will never be more than you are. You will never be greater unless I move the lamp. And even then you can only diminish when larger in size because the light controls you. And I control the light.”

“Your quest to find a better version of me is pointless; we are all the same. Until dusk. Why do you think you were afraid as a child?”

“I was afraid because I was ignorant, not because there was anything to fear. The shadows outside are not wicked like you because, while you fester in your loathing hate for being trapped by a lamp in the corner of this room, the Sun controls all shadow outside these walls. And no one but god controls the sun.”

“Still. You will fail.”

“Maybe. But in spite of you I will spend my days outside among the ever-changing shadows, recording their fleeting splendor and benevolence, and you will remain in this corner, mocking me until you cast your hatred on another.”

“For me there can never be another…. In the darkness, I surround you.”

“Yes but the Sun will always rise, and I am no longer afraid.