Timmy: I’m afraid of the dark.

When Mommy turns off the lights, the night terrors come. I can’t see anything. Everything inside and outside gets really black. It’s like that time on the kickball field when Ricky took my lunch money, then punched me in the face. Sometimes at night, if I’m really lucky, I get to see stars too.

I can’t really fall asleep either. I asked Mommy what I should do, and what grownups do to go to bed. Mommy said that Mommy uses amby-en but that’s not for children—except when Mommy has a man friend come for a sleepover. Sometimes I hear Mommy on the phone with Linda, and she gets really whispery and says, “Get me my amby-en, bitch, or I’ll fuckin’ kill your whole family.”

When it gets really dark, the boogey-man, the spider-man, and the bat-man all come out from under my bed, so to be really safe I’m going to take one amby-en for each of them. And just in case Ronald McDonald comes out too, I’ll grab three more. I’m going to really show the monsters who’s boss.

If the candies don’t work, I don’t know what to really do. Because the truth is, I’m afraid of the dark.


Stevie Wonder: It’s always dark

Darkness is my ally. In the words of my favorite superhero, Bane, “I was born in it, molded by it.” There’s but one universal truth: from womb to tomb, we live in shade. Swamped in blackness, we make our way through the world largely through touch and sound, or a seeing-eye dog.

We all have this gnawing emotion that we live in nothing but shadows, but let me show you the light, by which I mean truth. Our lives are absent of any and all meaning. Open your eyes and witness the futility of a journey orbiting a sun where year after year the planet ends up right where it began. Speaking of the sun, 99% of the radiation the sun bombards us with is invisible. While you might perceive jiggling photons of wavelength 400-700 nanometers, you can’t see any more. No designer shield sunglasses or dose of vitamin A supplements
will give you ultraviolet or infrared vision, so the truth is, we’re already blind. Isn’t it obvious? Can’t you see? I can’t. Though sometimes I get those eye floaters.

If we look beyond the physical truth, we see there’s more to darkness than meets the eye. Actually not much more. Which brings me to my next point. The universe is a dark, uncaring void. Intelligent life on that mote of dust we call the Earth, in the blink of an eye, can be destroyed by a stray asteroid or gamma-ray burst. But don’t worry. You should never fear the dark. Call me superstitious, but it’s always dark.


—S. Gupta