• Jasleni Brito

The Light

It is said that the women in my family possess a gift; a light that allows us to see the unseen. This mysterious gene is fickle and selective in who it touches, but once one has been given the light there is no returning to the blissful ignorance of a mundane life.

As a child I remember cultivating a deep-rooted fear not easily understood by those without the light. It started off in the evenings. My nanny would first tuck in my little brother, then me, and then she would turn on the fan before exiting our room. We were left behind in our twin-sized beds safely cacooned by the mosquito nets hanging from the ceiling and wrapped around our mattresses. My little brother would always fall asleep first and like clock-work the visitors would appear. Ghosts. Spirits. Men and women I did not recognize would stand around my bed just outside the net and they would simply look at me. I was young. Six years old or so. So it is hard for me to remember if they ever said anything to me; if they ever voiced the purpose of their visits. Although, looking back, I was so rattled with terror every night that I would not have been able to make out their words had I attempted to listen. Every night I would simply do what I always did. I would muster the courage to push my way though my pink mosquito net, passed the crowd, passed my little brother's peaceful sleep, and out of my bedroom. I would run and knock on my parent's door as loud and as quickly as humanly possible for a child of my size.

My mom would unlock the door and by the time she could ask what was wrong I was already inside the room, panting with my heart in my hands. Every evening, it was always the same story. By then my parents had grown accustomed to my late night visits, and always almost like robots would insist, it was just a nightmare. And so I was forced to go back, sometimes alone, and hop back in my bed where I learned to lay really still, so still I could barely hear my own breath, in hopes that they would cease to see me and disappear completely. Eventually my sleepy eyes would defeat my fear, and in the morning the ghosts were always gone.

This went on for years. The ghosts would come and go at different times of the day, in different places in my house, at school, they were everywhere and nowhere. I learned to live in fear and frankly I was good at it. I learned how to hide in plain sight. I learned how to be silent, and make myself small. In due time I became unnoticeable.