How to Pull an All-Nighter | Teen Ink

How to Pull an All-Nighter

January 28, 2016
By Extraterrestrial SILVER, Singapore, Other
Extraterrestrial SILVER, Singapore, Other
9 articles 4 photos 66 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Do what I do. Hold tight and pretend it's a plan!"

12 a.m.

I haven't pulled an all-nighter in ages.


West Coast Park is quiet. The few people who are here at this time of night (day?) wander about in pairs. Newly-minted couples use the cover of darkness to hide their red-blushed faces, feigning accidental touches. 


And then there's me.


2 a.m.

The stars are shy brides during their wedding night, hesitantly unveiling themselves from behind the cover of the clouds. I spin around, a full circle, and count one-two-three-four. 


I set up. Base plate to camera, camera to tripod. Tripod to ground. Camera tilted up. The lens is an 18-105 mm. I zoom out as far as it goes, but try as I might, I can't get two stars together in frame, let alone all four. They are spaced so far apart, as if tring to ignore one another's existence. 


It makes me feel lonely.


Maybe next time, I tell the uncooperative stars. Today I'm not here for you.


Today I'm chasing the sunrise. 


3 a.m.

There are, quite suddenly, two silhouettes sitting on the ground some distance away from me. They're gesturing animatedly towards the sea. I can't see their faces. It takes great self-control to resist the urge to use my zoom lens and be nosy.


From this distance, all I can see is that they are both short-haired. Two men? A man and a woman with a pixie cut? Are they on a date? Are they, shocking as it may be, just friends?

I can't tell. But occasionally, snippets of conversation reach me in jumbled gibberish. Their words sound happy. 


4 a.m.

The sea. It's directly in front of me, and i've been looking at it for the past few hours.


Let me describe it to you.


It is a dusty, washed-out red. Imagine: after washing out your paint brush in the water container, after all the reds and browns and purples (and the barest hint of black) has been leeched out into the water -- it is that kind of color. 


It is a mirror image of the sky that stretches endlessly above. Sea and sky are the exact same shade of dusky red that I can almost swim away the ocean to reach the sky, if not for the black mass of ships and glittering city lights that separate the two like forbidden lovers.


They differ, now, no longer reflections of each other. Sky is gently melancholic in its sadness, its clouds drifting to and fro delicately. Sea is more vocal in its grief, sending overlapping tongues of water upwards with grim, single-minded determination, before succumbing to gravity and bearing its waves against the rocky shore in frustration. 


They don't touch. They will never touch. The city lights glimmer wickedly, content in the long, gruelling hours they have put in at work, separating the Sea and the Sky.


5 a.m.

It's raining. 


How do I explain this?


Ah, yes.


"You can never touch me," says Sky, "and so all I can do is send myself down to you."


6 a.m.

This time of day, you get to thinking. This time of day when it seems you are the only one awake, when across you is a veritable ocean of lights but they are so far away so you feel alone so you feel like anything's possible.


Deep down you know that's not true, but the human brain is funny. Maybe it's a combination of dead-eyed weariness and the sense of aloneness and no movement save the persistent Sea, that the mind just wanders. 


If you try hard enough you can sort of put yourself in a trance. Like anything is possible. Like I can climb that lighthouse, step off the railing, and be suspended in midair. Like I can walk down the shore and willingly give myself to the waves and not feel a thing. 


Like nothing really matters, nothing really matters to me. 


7:10 a.m.

Sunrise soon.


I hope my battery lasts.

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