"It was only after people started shooting at me that I started using a nightlight. I didn't grow up with one; we didn't have reliable electricity in my home town. Back then, if you saw a light, it was a fire and you had to haul ass out of the house. That probably prepared me for a life of covering Sri Lanka and Iraq. And Chicago and Oakland, before you start thinking the foreigners are so violent. I took two bullets to the shoulder in Oakland on a police ride-along. The bullets went right through, like I wasn't even there. I was.
"Whoever had my hospital had owned a nightlight. It was orange, a jack o'lantern, way out of season. It had to have been a kid's. There was something about the orange glow amid the nurses saying it could have been way worse a few inches over here, and the doctor with all his eye contact, and the pain pills. I was profoundly lucky to be alive with that little light.
"I left it, hoped its kid owner would retrieve it. I bought my own on the way home, and plugged it into the bathroom with the door ajar. They made me stay home for two weeks while I became a bigger story than the beat I'd been trying to cover. It was a fog of frustration, of phony friends asking for quotes, of barely being able to leave the apartment. By the time I was clear, I just loved my nightlight. This one was jade.
"It stays home. When I went to cover Egypt last month, it shone on an empty apartment. No nightlights at work, no privilege of safety. Not until I got home. Then I slept with it on. Jade. Green light, go home."