At 10 pm on Sunday night we lose power. I’m supposed to be sleeping, but instead I’m in bed, watching the clouds scuttle across the sky, light against dark, highlighted by the moon. My husband calls to me from the other room and I turn and see, yes, all the lights are gone. No orange glow of the alarm clock. No pulsing green light from my electric toothbrush, charging, charging.
So we light a candle against the dark and pull the blankets to our chests. The room smells like the candle – winter and pine. And I remember a night not long after my daughter was born, when the Santa Ana winds blew my Los Angeles neighborhood into darkness. Hot air, scraping across the desert. Leaves and trash flying down the alleyway. The finest layer of salt, like we’d been kissed by the sea.
And how I sat on our chaise in the living room to nurse my daughter while the wind howled and shook the trees outside, a flashlight and a book in my hands. We were cozy. Happy. Even now, that seems to be the cure for everything – a flashlight and a book and the person you love. You lose electricity but not power. The air stays charged, your heart beats a hopeful song.