Silent Generators and the Permeating Future Thought, Alias: Freedom Walks with the Lights Out

Foreword: This piece was heavily inspired by Ben E King’s Stand by Me, play before reading for an awesome experience.

He locked the door behind him, outside he was alone, it was always so quiet here, people barely came out, even now when the lights were out and it was so warm, no one came out.

He could feel it coming, the burning sensation at his chest, soon it would overwhelm him and he would sink, fall into an endless pit of senseless feels and gut wrenching depression. He did not know how and why it came, nor did it matter, it was part of him now, as sure as the realization that his happiest moments in life were behind him and what he was left with, the dull decadence of adulthood and responsibility. The future was both his strongest and weakest asset, he fought as hard as he could to guarantee what it would be, while loathing the thought of what it was going to be, suits and ties, black shoes and clients, no arts and film, no poetry, when was the last he wrote…??? Lately he was scared even to hold the pen, lest he be reminded how much he had lost in his pursuit. The harder he ran the faster they fell off; his dancing went first, and then his drawings, soon and he feared this most, he would lose his power over pen, it would all fall off and leave him with the trophy of growth, what the world perceives success to be, a big house, a wife, children and a couple of cars. Surprisingly as tasteful as this seemed, he was no longer sure it was what he really wanted, in the night time, alone and deprived of sleep he wondered, was that really what he wanted?

His feet felt soft on the tarred road, he had been walking a long time but strangely did not feel the least bit tired. It was amazing how quiet it was, almost like everyone had gone to sleep, the lights were still out but the streetlight he passed by was on, standing atop a speed rump he heard the gentle hum of an expensive generator from the house behind him. As far as generators go he knew the less noise it made, the more expensive it was. Atop the ramp, he was minded to pass by where the nice houses were, once upon a time, he had walked those places with Nana Ama, hand in hand, copycats of her roommate and her roommate’s boyfriend. The two were no longer together, the copied cats, while he and Ama…well, they were complicated. A year ago is such a long time.

It felt oddly freeing being the only one on the road, he stretched both arms wide and started talking to himself, singing, the song being made up as he went along, occasionally he would hear himself and try to use supportive words so it made sense, then it would fall right back to senseless singing. Some time ago he had come upon the realization that human beings for some reason, constantly fail to realise how endless the possibilities in the world are, how free we are to pursue these possibilities and just not give a fuck. Nothing stopped him from running to his room, packing his bags and running away. He could take all his saving out his ATM then open another account somewhere else, live on that till he found a job somewhere, he could get his own place and everything…nothing stopped him. Okay maybe fear did, the bane of humanities existence, the fear of turning out the verb for one who fails a lot; a failure. Today he had read on Facebook a news piece on a girl who had run away from an IV league school, Columbia University, she had run away, basically started a new life, an artsier life, she said in the article she had reached her epiphany one night while studying for an exam; she completely broke down, and there and then decided to run away from who she was becoming. Today he had stared at that article, memories of struggling to find the schools washroom doors handle as he burst into little fits, rife on his mind. He had sat in one of the stalls and completely exploded, loud tears compounded with “Oh God oh God’s”, snot and a general disregard for whoever cared to listen. He had stared and wondered why instead of wondering how it would feel like to jump from every single balcony he stood on top off all those weeks that followed, he had not thought of running.

It took some time to realize the lights were back on, the place where the nice houses were was always lit up, with the power out or with no power out. The most expensive generators lived behind the walls he walked past, the ones that made no noise at all. So yes, it took some time to realize the light were back on. He got to a junction and looked to his right, the road was not paved, it was a dirt road, sand, he noticed two men talking the distance off, behind them a wooden shed, no doubt their home. Right behind him was the home of quiet generators, to his right was the home of no generators, no torches, just candle light. He turned to the left and walked past a dog…it stared at him, he stared back. He was not afraid of dogs, what he was afraid of was the future. Slowly he made his way back to his hostel.


“when the night has come”

And the land is dark

And the moon is the only light we’ll see

No I won’t be afraid

Oh, I won’t be afraid

Just as long as you stand, stand by me

So darling, darling

Stand by me, oh stand by me

Stand by me.

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