"We spent all day getting sober,
just hiding from daylight,
watching TV.
We just look a lot better in the blue light."

Hangin' around-Counting Crows

I drove home at 2 a.m. and everyone should be asleep, but they're not.

24 hour convience stores, crowded with truckers and munchie searchers.
Denny's, green light shining on booths full of low faces.
the blue lights of suburban living rooms, quiet streets filled with strangers watching strangers.

I am driving home from her house, and I should be spending the night there, but I'm not. And I should be mad about that, but I'm not.
I have the window rolled down even though it is still in the 80s and the humidity coats the steering wheel and the edge of the window I lean out. I move through traffic. The moon shines through the shaded section of the dashboard like a spotlight-

Who goes there?

I flick through stations, then cut it off just to listen to the buffet from the cars around me. Loud rock, soft jazz, sad country and earnest Gospel. It's too late for so much variety. I wish the night was as quiet and simple as the clouds chasing through the night sky. I wouldn't be staring at the sky if I were in her bed. But she probably would be; up at the window leaning against the frame for a look at Orion's belt. Her windows are never blue, she doesn't own that kind of light.

It's always late when it occurs to me to go for a walk. Do I save up my jitteriness so I don't have to go to bed? It's not safe, a woman alone on dark streets, 2 am. I carry no mace, whistle, gun. But I won't encounter anyone, never do; it's a small town, silent at this hour. I am the only person looking at this neighborhood's patch of sky. Everything's closed means nowhere to go means no reason to be out, unless you're me.

I am walking away from my house, that is what feels the best. Let everything difficult dissolve into the distance behind me.

The sky is better than a picture. It is not flat. I like this town because it has things in it, but not enough things to kill the stars. Orion stands firmly where he has always stood, no need to question if that's really his belt. Cassiopeia, the Perseid bunch, all safe in their slow revolve. I move in my slow cycle around my neighborhood and try to reach a setting where I feel as stable as a star. It's a nice thing to try for.

I pass lots of trees the Latin for which I do not know. I startle the same brown bunny I startle every night, he is frozen and then whisking away in the undergrowth. Mostly I pass living rooms flickering dimly, black and tv blue. I wonder what magic has captivated the unseen people - or is the mystery contained in their being so easily hypnotized?

I'm easier, I think. The living-room people have laughter and faces and soap commercials; they are entertained by something that makes sense. Maybe they are seeking solace or maybe they are just seeking the absence of thought. I am doing both. I have the stars and the sky and a bunny and my rhythm, arms legs head back all looping the same loop. Walking is walking. It's not as if you become more proficient at it. Your muscles may thicken, your stamina may stretch, but it is still the same habit of motion. I walk and I walk. I let the rhythm become my easy absence of thought. It is better this way, I am left with only pale flickers of myself, inside a darker house.

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