Friday, 23 December 2011


I was sitting alone, in the dark. In front of me I could see nothing, save for my breath misting out before my eyes in the cold air. There was an emptiness about this place, a feeling I couldn't shake. I didn't want to be alone. I didn't want to be in the dark.

I sat for some minutes. Too afraid to stand, too afraid to move. And after a while, there was a voice. At first I wondered if it had been my imagination, for it was so low I could barely hear it. But as the seconds wore on, the voice steadily grew louder, or at least, I found myself more able to hear it. At first I was unable to make out the words, but could hear there was a sweetness to it, and it made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. It was velvety, luxurious, golden. As it got clearer I could make out the words. "Follow me" it said. "Follow me and I will switch the light on for you. Follow me and I will switch the light on and you will know all things. Follow me and I will show you the truth. All you need to do is follow"

As I was about to stand I heard another sound, a different voice becoming clear in the oppressive silence. This was different from the last; hard and coarse and strong like an un-plained piece of wood. It was saying something different. "I'm not asking you to follow me," it said "and I can't provide a light for you to see. But I can promise to always hold your hand and walk through the darkness with you."

So there I was, faced with two choices. To follow in the light, or to be accompanied in the dark. Slowly, I held out my hand. Just as I was wondering if I should say something (for how would the voices know which I'd chosen?), a rough hand grasped mine. Its skin was hard, like that of a workman, and yet I found it strangely comforting. We walked together for some time, chattering often at first, but then after a while we walked in silence more and more. As I stumbled and felt my way through the darkness, hand in hand with this... stranger, I wondered if I'd made the right decision. I asked the voice regularly why it wouldn't switch the light on. "The other voice offered me light... why did I choose this darkness?" I would ask.

More and more, as the days went on, I argued with the voice, resenting it for keeping me in the dark, asking what truth it was keeping from me that the other voice had offered.

Finally one day I snapped. Unable to take the overbearing darkness any more, I stopped, and demanded to know why it was necessary to walk in the dark, what truth it was that was being kept from me.

The voice was quiet for a moment. I held my breath, and realised how terrified I was that the voice would leave me. "You wish for me to tell you the truth?" the voice asked me. "I have walked with you hand in hand in the darkness all this time because the truth is, my friend, the light is already on."

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