June 28, 2009

Dawned on

5 am. It is still night outdoors, but I hear the early birds whistling.

I could wrestle with the bedding some more, or I could give in, get up, and go out.
No contest.
I clatter out the gravel driveway and glide left into a dark street. Shadows are smudged by the cast off from a single street lamp and the traffic lights burning softly at the intersection.
I pause under the glowing red, a man-made star hanging by its cables, the fixture bobs mildly in place.
I wait in the stillness for the red lights to flood to amber and then to green. And I slide off, toward nowhere in particular.

Out of the gloam comes a three quarter ton pickup truck barreling at me, a flashing green light pulsing from his dashboard. What?
Next a minivan, also flaring dashboard bubble lights.
I hear no sounds, no sirens. And above the noise of my car?s engine I only hear the birds.

I rumble along a flat, windy road heading south to the ocean. The road cuts through a forest thickly populated with short hardy trees shoving their way up and out of a sandy earth. I pass mansions with one, maybe two, lights on.

The sky is changing from coal to cobalt.
I park at the beach. My footsteps fall heavily into the deep sand making it slow going from the dunes to the shore.
I scout for fancy jetsam.
I find:
A clear plastic wine goblet missing its base, the label from a bottle of water. Cocktail napkins and two magazines.

I stop moving and listen to the water licking its way back into the currents, sucking itself back out to sea. A tease.

5:30 am the sky is opalescent, with pinks and blues mingling and I head homeward. I avoid hitting a deer, by inches. I am congratulating my good luck when I see a low squat box zoom into the road ahead of me. It is a Mini Cooper. It is navy blue. It hurtled in reverse down a dirt driveway, and spilled into my path.

I know this car. At least, I know the owner. And I have to wonder where is he coming from? Where is he headed? Has he seen me?

And, oh, he dates that sexy physical therapist. But she doesn?t live anywhere near here, right? Oh dear!

As I puzzle the ramifications the Mini pulls ahead, seeming to flatten itself forward into the macadam. I apply some pressure to my accelerator. He is obviously trying to get away. I want to be absolutely sure this is who I think it is.

He surges and darts left, in the direction of his home. I catch sight of his hat. He never goes anywhere without that hat. Yup, it’s M.

There are no secrets in tiny town.

6 am I?m home and I?m back in bed. The birds are booming. I hear the neighbor yelling at his dog. And now it?s time to go to sleep.

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