There’s a reason we love to read after dark.
There’s a tenebrous membrane that we feel ourselves pressed against, bookending the dark hours around midnight. Those lonely hours, because that’s what readers are. We are the lonely ones. Befriending makebelieve people, doing makebelieve things, in makebelieve places, during makebelieve times.
But during those moments, lost upon those pages, our minds shrouded in those worlds with all the mystery of morning dreams, we do share something real. A connection not to the authors, but to the fellow readers. You feel her. She feels him. Lonely as you. Intertwined souls. You wondered about each other at the same instant. On the same page. Reading that same sentence, they stopped, just as you did.
When most minds are quieted to dreaming, you feel your kind more clearly.
The lonely ones. The readers. In bed, curled upon the couch, wondering who else is on this journey at the same time? Dozens? One or two? Where might they be? In your town? A street away? Halfway across the country? The other side of the world? Who is to say? All you know for certain is, you felt them. Just for a moment.
The membrane grows thin. You are not alone.
Yet, of course, you are. Very much alone.
Knowing others have shared this road, same as you, almost makes the loneliness worse. Dreams of camaraderie give way to a reality of isolation.
Nothing makes you happier than reading. Nothing makes you feel more alone. Especially during those moments, when the veil grows thin, the membrane stretches just beneath your fingertips, and you can feel us out there, staring out from the pages, looking back at you. Knowing none of us will ever meet or touch. We shall remain each others spectres for all eternity. Bookending midnight. Alone in bed. The dark hours of silence where the only sound is the flip of a page.