In fourth grade I had an assignment I can no longer remember the specifics of, wherein I wrote about my imaginary invention – a Flash Dark. It’s the exact opposite of a flash light and can be used to point a cone of darkness into any space. My teacher told me that’s called a shadow, but I told her it was darker than that. She gave me another exasperated look and a C minus. I didn’t yet have the physics background I would need to explain how to go about sucking all of the light out of a space. Decades later and I still don’t, but I’ve since met people that can do it merely by showing up.
My mother told me even if it were possible, it wouldn’t be a useful invention to anyone. Over the years she came to use Flash Dark as a code word for things I thought were a good idea, but that she just couldn’t see any use for. Curiously, she did not apply this to my marriage at 18 years old to a boy I’d just met, but right up until her death still referred to my second husband as a Flash Dark. She wasn’t wrong.
This morning I wonder if my mother noticed the influx of Dutch speaking souls up there in her heaven, and I wonder if it prompted her to take a peek at what’s going on down here on Earth.
If she did, she no doubt noticed the buildings all around the planet that have been lit in the colors of Belgium’s flag as a show of…something for the people of Brussels after their terror attack yesterday. Black, gold, and red lights. I don’t mean UV black lights that would undoubtedly leave us all scratching our heads as to how bodily fluids got all the way up there, everywhere. I mean to say they are literally shining a lack of light.
And then I think about how devoid of any comfort or peace this gesture must be to those affected and I realize my Flash Dark has been brought to fruition.