The rrriinngg! of the cash register resounded inside my head, like tiny metallic bullets ricocheting of its walls in my cavernous depths. My heavy drooping eyelids snapped wide open. I was doing it again. Falling asleep, and that too while I rung up the customer who right now was full out staring at me, concerned. It was Sassy Cass, a mid-aged ash blond with a string of three little girls beside her. Sassy because she was, but at the moment it seemed drained out of her, she wasn’t getting much rest either. Her daughters’ identical blond heads were bobbing up and down at the edge of the counter as they fussed.
“Sweetie, are you going to be alright? You shouldn’t be on the night shift if you aren’t up to it,” she said, distracted now, shaking loose Anna’s grip on Susy’s hair while Mary quietly looked on. Their names seemed so … well much of a part of an idyllic fairy tail world; sunshine and blue skies, where the people were sweet, kind, pretty and innocent which basically described the girls, but not exactly for the innocent part, only with the exception being docile Mary. I’ve always thought it was an attempt to instill those qualities in them that was why she named them what she had. Cass had seen too much of the darker side of life, it was understandable why she’d try everything to keep her girls safe from it.
“I’m fine, ma’am. Don’t you worry, the night time is my time,” I smiled and waved at them as they all marched out.
“Well … if you’re sure,” she said still not convinced, “that hard nosed Bill needs a talkin’ to,” she murmured to herself as an after thought. The girls waved at me.
“Bye-bye, Wookie!” they called. For the record, my name isn’t Wookie at all, it’s Loren Silver. Where they’d come up with Wookie remains a mystery, but I was okay with it when they called me that, it’s actually cute and endearing. But I would, without hesitation, hit any fool over the cranium with the Mossburg under the counter if they attempted to utter the first syllable.
I shot them a wink and waved back as the soft chime of the bell marked their exit and I headed to the backroom for a cup of strong coffee. Yes, Bill, the owner of the convenience store The 24/7, was indeed a hard nosed bastard but it was I who chose to work late and he hadn’t a problem with that at all. I was one of the few willing to work ungodly hours which almost always without fail wakes up all kinds of nocturnal creeps who come out of nowhere. It was their time as well.
Added to the fact that I’m used to staying up late, I disliked sleeping at night, not because I’m scared of it but rather that I embrace it for this was the only time of the day I felt at ease with myself, though not completely. That and the fact being a majority of the idiots that plague my life are sleeping, I’m telling you it’s a blessing. I looked out the window on my right when I heard an owl calling in the distance. The warmly lit sidewalks of Aburry welcomed me with open arms and chilly breathy kisses. The deepest of blue velvet was above my head, embroidered with starry sequins and laced with dark clouds on moonless nights and soft blue-grey on half moons like tonight. But make no mistake, I’ve come to learn that the night is cunningly deceptive.
That doesn’t mean I don’t like the daytime any less. The sunrise is a symbol of hope to me, chasing the strange shadows of the night and give an overall sense of safety to many. The light symbolizes all of what is good. It illuminates the colours of things that have none during the latter hours of the day. I love colours, their shades and moods. They add life and meaning, I can’t imagine any normal body that would prefer to live in black and white.
The night, however, is for reflection, for thinking, for all the thoughts of the day to settle, for getting lost in the quiet darkness. This is the time of the day when all six of our senses are put to the test. In full out darkness our hearing, tasting and smelling are amplified. Our faculty of touch is more sensitive. The eyes adjust to distinguish what’s there before us and what is not. Our sixth sense, whose intensity varies from person to person, is in overdrive. The adrenaline in my blood is more potent, staggeringly so. The best part? It’s seeing the dawn breaking in a new day; I get to see life all around me waking up. It’s really refreshing.
Both the day and the night are a part of who I am, versatile: moody, sunny and dark. Confident and insecure. Conflicting. Confusing sometimes and it’s a journey discovering the person I am. What I am.
Suddenly, my muscles locked in place. My hairs stood on end, my nerves on high alert. I listened. Something didn’t feel right, and my instincts screamed at me to run. Unfortunately, I’ve almost gotten used to this sensation since I had almost two years of practice. The bell on the door rang in a whisper. Someone was in the shop. I will not cower. What am I thinking about? This was most likely a customer, probably a major creeper that’s why my built-in alarm system was blaring.
I shook myself and walked steady, brisk strides to the front, with my back straight and shoulders set. A picture of determination and no-nonsense. When I got there I saw the guy, his back to me. Then he turned. No, not just someone, something.
P.S: Stay tuned, I might continue this story next week.
P.P.S (I’m not even sure that’s correct): Future posts about Loren will be tagged “Silver Nights” and I’ll put that in brackets in the post title. This is a heads up that not all future Picture it and Write! entries will be about her and I want to avoid any confusion.