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I’ve been to the cinema twice in the last couple of weeks, and in both films I felt I’d seen the supporting actresses in something else, that I had known and liked their characters in something else. But I hadn’t. They had reminded me of good friends, far away, and once I realised this the nostalgia was intense.

This happens to me often now. I started a new job a few months ago, and really warmed to one of my new co-workers even though we didn’t speak at length or have anything hugely in common. Every time she spoke I felt happy to hear her voice, and I soon realised it was because she spoke at the same pitch and tone as a friend who’d moved away to London not long before.

I’m in an odd place, friendship-wise at the moment. Living and working in my hometown for the first time in a decade, I’m no longer connected to anybody here. I never was of course, that’s why I left. Though I met my best friend ever at university – truly the other half of me – I’d only ever made a couple of genuinely good friends until I went travelling, when suddenly I discovered there are a whole plethora of misfits out there, all with one core virtue in common – our oddness.

Since then, I’ve largely chosen the people that I spend time around – leftfield, open-minded types for the most part – or been fortunate enough to move in circles where those sorts abound anyway. But now I’m back on the outside. Not that the people I work with aren’t great, they actually are! But we lead parallel lives, parallel thoughts… And so I miss those far-away friends all the more intensely. I’m not sure if the people I see on the screen or in the street really are like the people I know, or if its just wishful thinking, my brain in its sentimentality transposing what it wants to see…

There are two things I miss about life on the Island. One is without a shadow of a doubt the anarchy, but that’s a whole other thing. The other is having friends so close by. No matter what nonsense was going on, there was never a fellow misfit more than five minutes away with whom to unburden your woes, and indeed share some of those anarchic delights…

An article on The Guardian this week imparts The Top Five Regrets of the Dying, as described by a nurse who spent several years working in palliative care. Among them was not staying in touch with friends: “Everyone misses their friends when they are dying”. This statement grabbed me. Although I wasn’t dying, when I got shot and was lying in the clinic I found (to my guilt) that it wasn’t my family I wanted to see but certain friends that I wished, so bad, could be there…

The darkness tonight was black and thick, tinged red like heavy velvet by the streetlamps; impenetrable. It reminded me that as the weeks ebb on, the evening light will wane and the hours of UV will wither into that frightful northern day of barely six hours. A creeping twinge of dread…

As torturous as I find the winter months for this very reason, I have a different relationship with the darkness itself, with the night-time. Never a morning fairy, always a sympathiser with owls and a reluctant sleeper (I once threw a horrendous tantrum at the age of three or so because my Mum and Dad wouldn’t let me stay in the plum tree all night like an owl), the night-time has always pulled me in. My dreams are more often than not set at night, and the strange and shiny things it offers forth – the moon and the stars – I’ve gazed at in wonder for as long as I can remember.

I may have to be up at 6am, or have been awake for two days and utterly exhausted, but the darkness still lures me in and I will linger on, pottering into the night. It possesses some indescribable peace, a calm unattainable at any other time, a release from the pressures of day. You come to feel special; you are one of a few, a society of strange ones privy to this hour of quiet, and crime; the witching hour…

Driving home in the dark on recent evenings, seeing the lights of lone cottages against silhouetted hillsides, crescent of a moon above, stirs some nostalgia in me. This image holds some sort of perfection for me, something I long for but recognise as unattainable – an existence contained entirely in the small stone walls of a rural abode, darkness outside, safety within… I assume this harks from my early childhood when we stayed out in the country, and I would stare out the window at the night as my Dad drove us home, content in the absence of knowledge of anything morally dark in the world…

The image of a cityscape at night is also one that’s stuck with me since I was small. We didn’t live near a big city so for a long time it must only have been in my fiction-inspired dreams, and again I remember being in the car at night as we drove somewhere, again gazing out into the dark, when I got to see such a sight for the first time. It’s still one I find thrilling, all of those lights against the black. In this case I welcome the moral darkness into my heart, for that is where the thrill lies: to look out on those lights in the night, exclusively human, a blanket of fascinating vice…