Midnight Snow

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I woke.

A beam of light peered through the space between my light-blocking curtains — the place where they didn’t overlap. It’s probably my neighbors’ porch light again, I thought.

They were new, the neighbors across the street, and they had taken to turning their porch light on in the late afternoon, letting it burn through the night and not shutting it off until mid-morning.

The day they moved in, I watched from my window. I wanted to see who would be bringing casseroles to neighborhood pot lucks and feeding our cats while my husband and I traveled. I was curious if I’d need to buy more Halloween candy next year. If we’d have a new face at the neighborhood watch. I wanted to know how many times the wife carried a baby.

One time, two.

I watched the father kneel down to become eye-height with his small daughter, a box still in his arms, and utter something to her with a smile. “Just a couple more boxes and then we can order Chinese,” I imagined him saying. “Thank you for being such a good helper.”

“But I’m hungry now!”

“A couple more.”

“Fine.”

“Now let me give you a kiss.”

I tried to go back to sleep. But, as is always the case when I notice a source of light at night, I couldn’t distract myself from it. I could see the sliver of light through my eyelids.

I sat up, careful not to wake my sleeping husband, and looked out across the street to see where the light was coming from. But the neighbors’ porch light, for the first dark hour since they had moved in, was not illuminated.

The snow was.

It glittered, a kaleidoscope of velvety blue and white and gray. Like a spotlight, the full moon pierced through the midnight haze, setting the accumulating snow aglow.

Maybe, I thought, the neighbors’ porch light wasn’t on tonight because they, too — without the pollution of their light — were watching the recital before them as snowflakes danced in the light of the moon.

This post originally appeared on Medium.com.