It is not my secret self who walks along this road tonight. I have left pretense behind me, willing to accept the consequences. I am unaltered. I feel the same as this morning when I woke and wondered what the day might offer up to me. I did not think to find myself here, walking along suburban streets, the weight of thousands of silently sleeping lives hanging in the air over me like a cloak of desperate anticipation.
I feel the edges of night pushing away, while the center twists and spirals. If I could feel dizzy beyond this constant muddled sensation I have come to call normal, I would easily fall down, my arms and legs spread out in an exaggerated X, my mind spinning.
I wander a gravel path as it curves to the south. Three inches of black pebbles, laid on top of layers of clay and sand, shift beneath my feet . The winter waters have compressed and soaked the rocks, giving them a spongy feel beneath each step I take. A scraping sound rises from my shoes, and for a moment, an unexpected fear rises up in me. I will be discovered. They will capture me. I look around, fully expecting doors to fly open and shouts of alarm to reach my ears. “There he is, grab him. Stop him,” for I am dangerous. I prepare to run, but there is no one chasing me. They sleep, and do not understand.
I keep moving, exposed to the sensations of cold and darkness. I am not hiding. I am colorless.
In the distance, near the man-made lake, I hear the sound of Canadian Geese. One offers a low honk, followed by another. A dog barks once in a short and sharp burst at a running cat. The sounds are suddenly everywhere. It is 2 AM.