Running from the Dark

Tonight I go for a run. Even though it’s already dark. Even though I’m tired. I have to.

The dark started seeping in around the holidays. Now it’s February. It’s been a few months. It hasn’t been persistent, but it has been enough for me to notice.

So I change my clothes, and after the baby is safely to bed, I lace up my shoes and head out into the night.

I’ve been running from the dark since I was a kid. I told my mom, “Why do I always have to be the happy one? Maybe sometimes I’m just not happy.”

I’ve been running from the dark ever since the summer when my brother didn’t sleep. He started hearing voices and talked too fast and ended up in the hospital.

I’ve been running from the dark ever since the winter my sister didn’t sleep. She started hearing voices and talked too fast and ended up in the hospital.

They both made it. They made their way out of the dark. I’m still running.

I’m about a mile in. It’s a cool night and the first half of this run is uphill. The second half will be easier.

In college, the dark seeped in with the rain. It was the rainiest year on record in the Pacific Northwest. I blamed the rain. So, after college I moved to Los Angeles. I thought the sunshine might help. But the monotony of blue skies got to me. I started to see a therapist and I kept running.

I’m halfway through my run, but I’m behind. I need to pick up the pace. It’s getting late.

After my daughter was born I paid very close attention to the darkness. I wasn’t sleeping. I worried about the whole post-partum bit. I could see the darkness around the edges, when the exhaustion felt like too much and when I was up alone in the middle of night. I kept moving though, and as soon as I could, I started to run.

It’s mostly downhill for this last half-mile. The palm trees are silhouettes against the night sky. The moon is hidden behind the clouds.

When I tore my Achilles tendon, I couldn’t walk or run for months. That’s how I know things are bad because it’s darker now then it was a year ago. Nothing has changed except how I feel, and I can run again.

I stop at a light, a few blocks from home. In just a few seconds, I’ll be home. When I get there the lights will be on and I'll head inside where it’s bright.


  1. Ahh, Nori, you made me cry. And smile. And remember when I hated the dark. I'm still not fond of it. Now it's marked on the darkest end by Cassidy's birthday and Christmas and that makes it easier to bear. After that it's all downhill and the light creeps in, an extra minute on either end of my day, all the way till summer.

    1. Summer on the other end... it's there. Thanks for reading, D, and for the Valentine for KHarp! She loves it.

  2. This was very powerful. Stirred up all kinds of emotions for me. Thanks for sharing it with us.