My eyes take a while to adjust to the dark as I take a the few steps out the back door and down the garden. I can see a streetlight poking its head up over the back wall. It’s about two hundred yards away, but its bright light still restricts my pupils from dilating enough to see much.
The hallway light shines through the unlit kitchen, out through the glazed door and onto the final fading penstemon and fuschia flowers. There is no colour to them in this light but I can make the shapes they present on this November evening.
I retreat into the shadow of the wobbly garden fence which probably won’t see another winter. I raise a hand and with a bright spark I light the cigarette. The flash from the lighter is briefly disorienting but that soon gives way to a deep red glow as the tobacco slowly burns.
I look again to the flowers on the far side of the narrow garden. I see the neighbours cat delicately padding along the wall. I gaze up to see the stars shining brightly in the autumn sky, only their not really bright enough. I can just see the Plough and Orions belt but their too far away to compete with the glow of my small market town.
I finish smoking and head out of the darkness into the blinding electrical brightness of our modern home. Candles are the future I think to myself as kicking of my shoes I walk across the kitchen, flick on the kettle and with my eyes still in outside mode, I step straight onto a lonely Lego brick.