Ashley hails from an island known as the Little Red Dot and holds an uncanny penchant for all-things pink. One day, she hopes to dominate the world in a princess dress and sparkly tiara, because who ever forbade warriors from dressing in style?

Guided by the Night Light

July 2, 2019

PROMPT: Doorways

Each night before I lift the duvet that envelopes my bed, my arm instinctively reaches across the desk to switch my night light on. Over the years, this has developed into a ritual that feels natural to me. 

My parents have badgered, warned and even threatened that having my little lamp turned on throughout the night would cause disrupted sleep and poor health in the long run. Yet having a glow of light illuminate the darkness provides me with a great deal of comfort as I’m wrapped up under my sheets, completely alone. When I’m asked about why I developed this habit, I immediately feel inclined to attribute it to a serious case of nyctophobia—after all, if my fear of the dark can be rectified with a simple switch of a night light, then wouldn’t my nightly ritual be justified? 

But the truth is that this ritual has been a part of my life since I first plunged into the realm of angsty teenagehood, to the point where cutting this practice might feel like an attempt to untether myself from my childhood. As I prepare to head to leave the metaphorical nest for college in a country seven thousand miles from home this fall, the jumbled feelings of consternation, worry, excitement and streaks of other inexplicable emotions compel me to hold onto my identity of innocence even more tightly. The whole concept of “adulting” is one that I’m only slowly beginning to wrap my head around, and for the longest time, I wasn’t sure I really wanted to even try. 

But time waits for no one. The seasons will change. Night will befall once again as the sun retreats graciously for the moon to occupy its place in the sky. There will come a time when our parents make their way to the doorway at the end of the hall, only to leave us with a lingering ghost of memories of the reminders they used to badger us with. There will come a time when I will finally need to muster the courage to lean over the table to switch my night light off. Maybe that day is today, or tomorrow, or in a couple of months. Regardless, I’m constantly reassured by history, as well as the people around me, that we all eventually learn how to grow and adapt. 

And perhaps one day I’ll fully realise that turning my night light off is, in fact, a routine too… Just a different, more mature one.


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  • July 2, 2019 - 5:40pm (Now Viewing)

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