There's something tricky about light.
There's something in the way that it steals away on a winter afternoon, draining all of the gold out of the day until it rests on the world's shoulders in shades of pale blue and twilight.
I was never sure what it was all those years that caused my heart to break, looking out over the cuty at five o'clock on Sundays. And it only seemed to happen then - some special set of circumstances mixed together - as the thin winter sunlight slowly withdrew, shrinking from the edges inward, it seemed, like a puddle evaporating in the sun. I would watch it go from my eleventh story window, and suddenly a strange sadness would settle over me, and I'd feel like I might burst into tears.
I didn't know what it was then, that made the slow retreat of a winter afternoon so somber. Just that the filter of the weakening light through a thick blanket of clouds made me contemplative and restless.
And it made the memories come, swirling up out of the stagnant dust they had fallen into, unused, at the back of my mind, even when I was too young to have such sweet nostalgia. I should have been out, living memories, instead of in, mooning out the window and wringing my heart over things that hadn't even been gone for a year.
I suppose it felt like ages to me then.
And all of it had to do with the light, and the way it retreated across the carpeted floor, surrendering to blue and cold and night. Something about five o'clock in the winter made the light the same as it was back home, the same light that played outside the window over my desk, that had made me spill my heart and my ink all over the pages of some cheap notebooks.
Yes, the light is tricky like that.
I remember those days well, and I remember looking out our tiny window onto the street below, expecting to see soft snow and chimney smoke and a playset with a yellow plastic slide.
But instead the cars and people crawled by.
The world managed to turn even though, in moments like those, my heart seemed to have stopped.
I didn't know it then, but there is a trick to the light on days like that.
It's an awful lot like lonliness.