Life of Night

Header image by Master Man under Creative Commons 2.0.

As the time tends towards night in my dreams, the more I tend towards wandering the land as opposed to staying inside. When I’m in the city, I often find myself drawn towards the heart of the nearest shopping centre. Wandering through the doors, there would be a circular area with the doors to everywhere else in this place on the edges and the stationary escalator to the next floor in the centre. I’d find myself enveloped in the purple glow of a dimly lit arcade in the middle of the night, still alive with the bustle of the early-hour shoppers in the dark. Even without a penny to my name, I find a way to stay here in the depths of the city, even to continue playing the arcade machines. Bright purple, neon blue. Bright green, neon pink. In low light, they only seemed to make the place brighter. Sometimes people would watch over my shoulder to see what I was doing or how I was scoring although I never took notice, instead playing on with what little coins I had left. Certain voices would suddenly become clear and then trail away. There was a whole universe in here and it was mine to traverse.

If I walked outside there was no telling what I’d find. One time, I walked out the exit door to find myself on the ledge just below the roof of a building, the smell of the summer night air and its light breeze immediately noticeable as well as the purple light from beyond the door. Several other times, I’d just find myself a floor closer to the core of the Earth, the arcade’s rooms suddenly extending in all directions, the circular hub several times bigger than that on the ground floor, the chatter twice as loud as before; I don’t think this place ever slept despite it being forever nighttime. The lights here were closer to blue than purple…either way I was entranced.

I once dreamt I was at the top floor of the London Trocadero again, where the dodgems were before the floor was blocked off over a decade ago. It felt so real, like I was reliving an old memory. The room was bathed in the same bright purple as before, reflected off the floor and the ceiling. I remember getting into one of the dodgems and that’s it.

(Has it really been that long since that memory…? Has it really been over 12 years? It’s sad to know what happened to that place.)


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