By the River at Night

Glimpses of last night slide through my mind. Down by the river with people I hardly know, sitting on the edge of a rock apart from the others, listening to their murmurs, staring at the patterns of empty trees against the sky, wishing for a moon to howl at.

Once again, I don’t mind being separate. I listen to them talk and I know there’s nothing there for me at the moment. I, with all my narcissism, do not mind being the lone wolf. One of them has a flashlight. He clamps his hand over it and marvels at the sight of his bones dimly outlined by red light. They pass it around, each trying it. I watch them, dark hands grasping at a glowing ember in the gloom.

The only other girl there decides to go swimming. It’s November and the air is cool enough for a coat. Everyone laughs as she wades in, but I only wish I had thought to bring a towel too.

They’re dancing to some song I don’t know. One of them turns to me apologetically. “Yeah, I know we’re crazy,” he says as if I’m the only sane one here. I laugh and think to myself Oh boy, you’ve got no idea.

Later that night I walk down to the pond alone, accompanied by shadows that once frightened me. I sit on the dock, watch clouds tinted pink by nearby city lights move behind barren branches, watch leaves on black water. It’s almost midnight and I imagine meeting a devil, or a witch, or a ghost. And then I realize this is useless speculation, for I am a little of all three.


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