The Drive Home

It started with a look: one of mischief, the kind you knew was up to no good, from eyes that firecrackers lit, thrown sideways as he shifted gears. His car made a U-turn on the noisy highway, that road often mentioned in history books, and my brain reconfigured the story of my 20s, yielding this boy some space. 

We drove through roads with sad trees, filling the void in his car with conversations, i.e. about socially-aware rap music he thought I should listen to, about a little-known coming-of-age Ghibli cartoon I would let him borrow. When traffic forced us to a halt, a song from the 90s went on air and I let him sing along; a track from the 80s played next and we danced to it, awkwardly.  

Then, it was time to leave an identification card with the village guard. He made the last of turns and then stepped on the brake in front of our gate. The lamppost watched as we said goodbye for the first time, lending her nod of approval by illuminating his face in a way that made him look rough, but gentle (the scruff gave a nice shadow). And then, a kiss, a moon-and-lamppost-lit kiss.

It's all just a memory now, a recollection with its own twists and turns, a story with its own soundtrack. Sometimes though as I'm about to let myself in, the light flickers and winks at me, but the keys jangle and I'm reminded how late it is and I should, perhaps, be getting inside.

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