Imagine a scale from one to ten. Imagine a color spectrum from off-white to signal-red. On your left, there is safety, home, intimacy and coziness. On your right there is depression. The scale slowly transitions through uncertainty, hesitation, indecision and self-doubt. A litmus test for happiness? An experiment for the state of emotions?

I know that I have lived most of my life in the dark yellows and oranges with reoccurring dips into shades of red. I’ve never been able to fully understand why it is that I just can’t seem to settle on the left side of the scale. It’s something to do with the fear of missing out. I’ve always felt this urge to understand more and know it all.

In my parents house, the house I grew up in, there is a big staircase leading from the hall up to the bedrooms. The living room and the kitchen are connected to the hall. It’s the holidays and my parents are having friends over. The house smells of red wine, cooking and baking and the wood fire that’s keeping it warm. The dark December nights and the chilly air outside compress the inner life of my parents home into the warmest, brightest and coziest cradle.

A little boy is hiding on top of the staircase, crouching behind the banister. It’s long past bedtime and his sisters are deep asleep bundled-up in their duvets and enveloped in happy dreams about playing in the snow, unwrapping gifts and the smell of fir needles. He has exhausted his repertoire of excuses to stay up. Any attempt to get back into the living room will just jeopardize the lightness of the moment. It is a weightless moment – the adults are beaming in good spirits. Merry Christmas, joyful and lighthearted. A lot of laughter, a bottle of great wine and the crackle of the firewood. This is what the boy is here to soak in. This is why he holds out on the cold stairs in the dark, shivering in his Pyjamas. But he can’t leave his spot, he cannot miss a second of this feeling.

In a social situation, I still find myself assuming this position on the stairs. It almost seems as if this inner core, the warm place emitting the scent of happiness, will turn acidic if I step too close to the light. I find comfort in observing from my place on the picturesque staircase, clinging to the cold floor.

If you can spot me there in my hideout, sit with me in the dark for a little. Take it all in, and indulge in this feeling of observing something beautiful and fragile. And then by all means, please take me by the hand and let’s join the others. I would love a glass of wine.

A memory of warmth and laughter observed from a safe place in the dark, shivering in Pyjamas triggered by Cozy


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