We’re all tired in my house today–it’s been a rough few days in an even rougher year. So we all turned in early. Now here I am, listening to Welcome to Night Vale and feeling like the last person on earth. Are you lonely tonight too? Come sit with me for a little while.
I listened to old radio dramas as a kid. The local radio news station played them in the evening for years. My father worked the night shift, so I could sleep in my parent’s bed until he got home in the early morning. My mom and I would lie in bed and listen to the Lone Ranger and Yukon King and Night Beat and all the other old shows. I remember so many of the old catch phrases:
“On King, on you huskies!”
“What darkness lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows.”
On those nights, smooth, familiar voices read me a couple of stories in the dark. I didn’t always understand them, but I felt safe while I listened. (Unless it was X Minus One, the sci fi show, that night, because those always scared me.) I could trust that those same voices would be there, the stories would be there, in the dark, in the lonely parts of the night.
I miss being told stories aloud. There’s a special comfort in it: the focused attention of someone who loves you, the familiar rhythms of storytelling, the certain knowledge that as long as the words keep coming, you will be safe. Someone is there to take care of you.
The radio cancelled the drama hour years ago. I’ve found some of the old shows online recently. It’s not quite the same, though. The voices are there, but not the ritual. I have to go looking for comfort instead of knowing it will come find me each night. On lonely nights, though, this is the best I can find.
Are you lonely tonight? I hope you have someone or something to comfort you. I hope you are just as safe and surrounded as you want to be. You might not be, though, and you might not have what you need.
So tonight, we are lonely together. Tonight, I am here, speaking in the dark to you. Good night, kids. I’m thinking of you.