Monday, August 08, 2005

The Darkness and the Match

One moment, you are laying in bed with your significant other, watching television. The next, you find yourself in utter darkness. It's not that the lights have gone out, or that you've gone blind, or that you've been mystically or technologically "teleported" somewhere. (You may well have been teleported, or maybe not, this is not the issue). What's important is that suddenly, you are enveloped in darkness, in a space that is not your bedroom. You stand on a floor, hard and flat, with no particular texture. The air is perfectly still, tasteless and odorless, lacking qualities. It's so dark you have to touch your body to affirm that you still exist as a physical entity. You do. You have not yet moved, since for all you know, the terrain might be treacherous. You wave your arms, encountering no obstruction. You stand still and wait for something to happen. Something happens. A flare of light pierces the darkness, somewhere to your left. (Lacking context, the actual distance is impossible to determine.) Presently, you realize that the flare of light is a lit match. You know this because of how it plays, and how it wavers slightly, as if held in a hand. (The match is not bright enough to illuminate this theoretical hand. You intuit the hand because of the match's spatial position, which seems to be about eye level, and by its gentle waver.) You watch as the match begins to scroll to the right, slightly bobbing and guttering. At a certain point, somewhere to your right, the match stops moving. Do you assume that the distance the match has covered is the width of the room, beginning at one wall and proceeding to the other? Do you assume that it is safe to walk from where you are to where the match now hovers? Who is holding the match? As you weigh these questions, the match goes out, plunging you again into utter darkness. Reaching into your pocket, you find a single match.


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