Lighting, or the lack thereof was always one of the things The Mom and I agreed on, one hundred percent. We both decided there was no reason for full lighting at any point in the day, given that we weren’t about to perform any kind of surgery.
Crazy D and L’il Sis however, like good lighting. And by that I mean, all the lights on all the time. Full illumination.
When I venture downstairs first thing in the morning, it’s dark. In order to make coffee and not set myself ablaze with the gas stove, I am forced to turn on a light. The one in the kitchen is on a dimmer switch. The Mom and I keep it fairly low. The other two crank it up to full blast. I know this. And yet, each morning, I will forget it. I will turn the light on and be instantly blinded. I don’t normally have more light that the glow of my laptop screen, and even then, it’s turned down a bit.
I don’t know when this happened. I used to not mind the light and I’m not hiding from anything, in the way The Mom skulks around and thinks that with the lights off or nearly off, she can just describe herself to us and we’ll buy into the fact she sees herself as a twenty-year-old.
But these days, I cannot abide light. Bright light burns. I put it down to spending most of my life in front of a computer screen.
When I was staying at The Mom’s, sometimes L’il Sis would drop by, when she still had her car. The Mom and I would be squinting at one another over dinner.
“Hello?” L’il Sis would shout into a fairly dark house. “Are you people home?”
“Yes, we’re in here. We have nowhere else to be.”
We could hear her stumbling around, not knowing where The Mom had placed the small trash bin full of birdseed, she’d crash into it, and the sound of millions of tiny seeds cascading across the tile floor would echo through the house.
“Goddamnit!” she’d shout. “Why don’t you people have any lights on? Has your electricity gone out?”
“We have lights on,” I’d say, pointing to the dull glow of the bulb above our heads.
“You can’t see anything with that,” she’d shout just before turning the light up to maximum. “there,” she’d say, satisfied.
I picture her crossing her arms at this point, but I can’t be sure. Because I was covering my eyes and screaming at the injustice and pain of it all.
“You,” I would say, waving my hands at The Mom. “You’re closer. Turn this down!”
And she would. She’d stumbled, blinded by the light, so to speak, to the dimmer switch and put it down to a level where we could both just about open our eyes.
“Something is wrong with you two,” L’il Sis would say. “You’ve gone blind.”
“Not blind. Light sensitive. Look,” I’d hold up my bottle of pills. “Medication makes me like this.”
“I disagree with those tablets,” she’d say.
“Yes, but dying is more disagreeable, and it’s getting ever closer. These are staving it off. Side effect, though, is that I appear to have turned into a mole.”
“What’s your excuse?” she’d demand of The Mom.
“What’s to see? Nothing. She looks exactly the same as she did yesterday. Even wearing the same pjyamas.”
“Dinner, you should be able to see your food.”
“I can see it just fine thank you very much.”
L’il Sis would wander off, turning on lights as she went, lights I didn’t even know we had. I can only imagine what it’ll be like when I go home for Christmas. I don’t normally pack my sunglasses, but perhaps this year I will.