I can close my eyes now and still see what I used to see as a kid. I can practically imagine being 8 years old in my pink-striped nightgown, watching what I saw everyday turn into something completely different in the night. I would stay up until the wee hours just watching, watching, watching.
One of my clearest memories is when I was in a phase that I was terrified of being alone at night. And by that I don't mean alone in my room. I mean alone in the sense that no one in the world was awake except for me. It was a pretty terrifying idea for a little bugger like me. If I tilted my head at just the right angle, at the farthest left corner of the window, I could see lights.
A church, I decided. It must be a church that's open all night long, full of people and priests and prayers. I'm not alone, I realized. No matter how late at night it is, that church is still big and bright, so I must not be alone. I later learned at 11 years old that it wasn't a church, but the city lights sparkling from a distance. I would still occasionally stare out the window fondly, though, remembering and savoring the innocence of the little kid I once was.
I now look out a different window to see the night now. As age has struck me, everything looks...different. It's the worst feeling, for everything to be different. And even though I'm living in a completely different place, in a different city, in a different state, everything didn't look quite the way it used to. The stars didn't shine as bright, and the shadows didn't seem quite right.
What a terrible feeling.
It all changed last night. I was sitting up in my bed when I realized that I was thirsty. Not thinking clearly, I decided to use the bathroom down the hall and fill my glass fromt he sink there. As I went into the connecting room that led to it, I hazily looked out the window, and almost fell over.
Suddenly, I was my 8 year old self again, staring at the same sky I saw so many years ago. The shadows, the stars, the sky, everythign that I had been missing fromt he night was suddenly back. I lay down on the couch and just stared at the sky that I had forgotten how to see, and cried.
I know, I know.
I'm a total sap.
But the point I'm trying to make is that my childhood isn't completely gone. It never was, and never will be. I had just forgotten what it was like to look, to really look at the night sky. And for just half an hour, I was able to look at it the way I once did once more. When I finally got back to bed, I fell asleep almost instantly. What I had lost now was found.