Night Walking

We walked the darkened streets at night, ignoring our studies, ignoring sleep, ignoring the sleeping world. We walked for miles past the abandoned houses on the edge of town, through peaceful  cemeteries, along disused train tracks, near the banks of the river. We trekked through every mile of that dirty old town. We knew where to find the alienated junk shops, the best broken pop machines, the forgotten hulls of ancient automobiles. The scent of an angry skunk, the wandering characters that populated that town, and the street sweepers that patrolled back alleys; none were strangers. We should have even known them by their secret names.

All my life I walked at night with honest compatriots, who knew the thrill. We broke out of our houses, disobeying parents to while away the quiet hours of the morning. We ran from commitments, necessary or imagined, to smell the stale night air in August, or to breathe in fresh spring rains. Nothing beat the feeling of strolling down an unknown street, imagining what the people inside the lighted houses were doing, yet knowing instinctively that you were probably better off. Allotted, or imagined, freedom of the walk allowed, like the open road, a sense of a differing security. We were like hobos on a train, criminals in the getaway car, the true and real walkers of the ever-darkening American night. Do with that what you will.

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