It was hard to explain why a grown man was afraid of the dark, really what adult man worried about the dark. As a kid Frank had always found a way to create some light in the darkness. He would convince his family to leave a hall light on or something like that. When he moved out on his own, he put a television in his own room so he had that running when the darkness set in. When he got older he learned to sleep in the dark when his wife was there, she didn’t want the TV running. Her breathing helped soothe him and make him feel safe at nights. The darkness was tamed in her presence. When she went away for business he brought in his laptop and ran movies on it. He found a way to survive the dark when she was gone, but it was only tamed in her presence. When she was gone, the anxiety of the dark was always there.
It isn’t like Frank was afraid of the things that go bump in the night, not actually at least. He just had a weird imagination. He could rationalize that the things that made him anxious were not real or a reason to be uncomfortable, but that didn’t help. He thought of people breaking in, and alien abductions and all kinds a weird stuff, he did it until the anxiety was unbearable and he had to find a way to break up the darkness. He could never talk himself out of his crazy irrational thoughts.
When he met his wife he was sure it was cured. The calming affect she had on him, in the darkness, was life altering. It made him feel safer, but also made him feel more normal. He worried that his darkness issue made him a certifiably crazy and his wife had taken that away from him. She was the best part of his life in so many ways, but in this one weird way, she would never understand how freeing she had been.
Frank lay in bed in the darkness thinking of his wife and how wonderful she was and hoped that would help him making it through the night. He turned on the computer and read her obituary one more time. He didn’t understand why she had been taken from him so early and now he had no way to conquer the darkness.