The Night

By Regina Hong, Yale-NUS College ’17 – See Bio

I must confess that I am irrevocably, irretrievably and irrationally in love with…

The night.

It’s not the healthiest of relationships in a society that expects its citizens to greet the day with a cheery smile and take a jaunty little hop out of bed, followed by a jubilant trot into the embrace of a sterile place to partake of office politics and paper work for 8 hours. But as any teenager would tell you when confronted with the prospect of an unhealthy relationship: “I can’t break it off. I love him/her too much.” Which is pretty much how I feel whenever the clock tells me I should really be turning in to bed if I want to get to work in a lucid state the next day.

It is hard to find words sufficient to express why I’m so enamoured of the night – since I don’t understand this draw to the night completely myself. Eight hours of sleep is a requisite for me to function normally. I rarely do all-nighters. My body’s sleep curfew kicks in around 1 am, which is undeniably early by the standard of a night owl.

Yet, it is only during the night that I feel truly alive and awake. Perhaps it is because so much of the night is mine to play with, with so much potential unexplored in the hours ticking away before daylight intrudes again. I can study what I love, transport myself to other worlds while reading, travel alone on a bus and marvel at the sights of a city that never seems content to cast itself in a lull. I can lay down on the parade square of a school and gaze at stars, sit in a cafe and people-watch, hop on a bicycle and cycle with only the sound of the wind and the tyres humming quietly in accompaniment.

Or maybe it is because the night both covers and exposes the ugliness of life. It reveals young lovers holding hands as they promise each other the moon and the stars, jaded office workers trudging home after grueling hours of OT, a dog prancing in adoring delight around its owner, two cats hissing and spitting at each other in a well-established ritual. The day is often too bright, too insistent on throwing everything into the open. The night, on the other hand, is the wings of a theatre, for one to retreat within and to exit without.

Or perhaps it is just because the day heralds the start of a new day and the end of the old one. It acts as an amiable gatekeeper between what has been and what will be. Depending on how the day went, one can either wish fervently for the night to never end, or to hope that the passing of the night will herald the coming of a better day.

At the end of the day (pun not intended), one of the reasons I can clearly think of for being in love with the night is the feeling you get when you get to reflect quietly on how you have lived life for that one day, good or bad and knowing that you will never get another day like the one you just had. This is your own personal time, where you are free to give vent to whatever delighted you and bugged you in the day. Finally, finally, that mask is discarded to reveal all the true emotions underneath. How good that feels.

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