Virginia at Night

Deirdre Coyle
Human Parts
Published in
2 min readJul 10, 2013

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The way Virginia feels at night, that’s how I want to feel all the time. The trees move in a certain way, they do not look like other trees. They have secrets. They uncover these at night so that if you tip your eyes backward and see the stars frying between the branches, you can almost feel it. Their light. The air swoops across your arms; your arm hair bristles (you are a child). You are on the street at three a.m., you are spinning in the middle of the road (you are fifteen, you believe that you are not a child). You are sitting on the blacktop in an elementary school parking lot, it is always three a.m., you are sixteen, you are sharing a cigarette, the intimacy like kissing. You are on the curb at ten o’clock, consoling your oldest friend after she ditched her unfaithful prom date, you are in a car bypassing road blocks, you go to someone’s house, you walk around the suburban streets, you drunkenly think you see goblins hiding behind the bushes. Or maybe you did. Maybe they were really there.

The James River washes against the shores; its dirty water is beautiful when you can’t see too clearly. The rich houses at night, the ones on the river, they are so clean and crisp, filled with the artifacts of wealthy, absent parents, but you are not bad, not then, you are respectful and quiet and you watch the James like you could sit there forever and not notice anything. As if you have done nothing wrong. As if you are exactly where you are supposed to be.

You are a child. You are watching the darkness through the window while your mother talks to her friends. You see a flying light float past the window, past the forests behind your house (one forest has bamboo, the other evergreens). You say, excitedly, “Is it firefly season?” Your mother says, “Not yet, it’s December.” And you don’t tell them what you saw. You watch this darkness avidly, in awe of what you have seen, wondering if you will ever feel this light again, understand these waves of feeling that come in the night, that come through the stars or the windows or the dark air itself. Wondering if. If you will ever understand what it is that chills your arms and bristles your hair and makes you want without being able to explain, without ever learning how to be able to explain.

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Deirdre Coyle
Human Parts

The New York Times called me “another writer.” Columnist at Unwinnable. Haute goth. http://deirdrecoyle.com