Tonight, the Quarter is beautiful for all the things that aren't there that normally are. No termites fluttering around the street lamps. No drunk revelry. Just quiet streets, lit by gas lamps. Quiet and clean and suprisingly cool. I sit out on the narrow balcony overlooking Bourbon Street, a balcony from which Billy or Brenda toss down the key to the front door when I visit.

Their apartment exudes peace and calm, even in their absence. They are older hippies, cut from the original cloth of the 60's. Billy's office has blue paint on its hard wood floors. Brenda's dresser is clad in dried flowers. An incense burner straddles the back of the toilet. The fish and birds are fed and are being quiet for me. So I can think. So I can let the day leak out of my head for a change instead of clinging to every crunchy morsel, draining life.

There's got to be a way I can take some of this peace with me when I leave, when I return to my hot little apartment and my own version of solitude.

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