There will come a night when she falls asleep and leaves the light, on. It’s not a typo. Question that comma. Let that comma make you stumble, stop, and wonder. Why is it that we’re so drawn to what’s wrong? Why do mistakes stick out? Further, if what appears most vividly to us is that which is out of place, what do we notice when everything is supposedly in place. Is that even a thing? Is that an event inside of which you frequently occur? Nothing wrong here. Everything’s cool. No? Me neither. Because it seems to me that consciousness itself—what it’s for—is a tool for noticing what’s wrong with things, situations, other people, and punctuation.
For instance, she fell asleep and left the light, on. The comma looks like a mistake— yes—but it’s intentional because it wants your attention to cluster around the way sleeping leaves the light. Light, here, is synonymous with consciousness. She’s asleep. She left the light. She’s unconscious. But also? She left the light on. Damn. Now who has the problem here? Me, awake, or her, sleeping? This is why Dostoevsky said consciousness is a disease. Well, Dostoevsky had bigger problems than his girlfriend falling asleep and leaving the light on, but you get the picture. This is also why Whitman said “To die is different than anyone supposed, and luckier.” It’s going to be sweet. No worries.
Nonetheless, the light is still on and this won’t do—not at all. So I get up, walk around to her side of the bed, reach, for, the, lamp, and—stop. Again, what the fuck with the commas? Well, they denote a kind of distracted reaching for the lamp because, as I reached for the switch, I was caught completely off guard by the light spilling on her face and dripping all over her pillow. Does this ever happen to you? Please tell me it does. When you, alone and undetected, see something so beautiful that it sort of zaps your rational capacities and you think incoherent things like: But the. How? This. From nothing. How does it? All these silver rivers are too impossible to flow just, this, way. And yet. And yet. It hurts so exquisitely—this being rain, falling.
Who can say? But I think it was the splash of contrast between her dark hair on the starkly white pillow. It’s a violent collision, isn’t it? The way everything is—how we slam against nothing and appear. This, all this, is the orange sparks of something colliding with nothing and it becomes our story only through the telling, what we notice and how we use commas. So delicious to be something, anything, I thought, stunned, and perhaps not so sad that it all, disappears, as I clicked the light, off, and everything.