Night in the city has a strange sound—the way ice speaks before it melts and pools down, rushes gutters, rages rivers on its interwoven streets to somewhere, past everyone in and out of the shadows at night.
The night watchers look on in judgment—not of the melted ice but of each other on their interwoven streets to somewhere—to home, perhaps.
Home. Home is where the heart is. That’s what she likes telling him.
She grew up in a good Christian home, but not he, though he agrees that there is no place like home. That’s why he stays home on weekends on his interwoven street to somewhere he once traveled when he and she were young.
That somewhere is east of their home. If you follow their street across town, it will lead you to their old high school.
He walked that route every school morning; he didn’t miss a single day of school (good boy he).
She walked it too, though not with him to school. She walked with him when the school day was done.
One day, she turned in the wrong direction.
“Where are you going?” he asked, watching her go.
“Anywhere that will take me somewhere,” she said.
“Anywhere is somewhere, you know,” he said, catching up to her.
“Unless it’s giving us solace.”
“Solace? What do you mean?”
“Solace is where we sit comfortably and go nowhere. Like my dad. Every night he leans closer to the flick flick flicker of the TV’s deadlights that distract his notions and blind him of the future and the plight of melted ice.”
“What does ice have to do with anything?” he asked her.
“Night in this city has a strange sound, the way roof ice speaks before it melts, pools down, rushes gutters, and raises the river’s rage below us. Melted ice flows over boot tops, speeds down interwoven streets with signs that claim they take us somewhere—home, school, or futures everywhere that are nowhere to my dad at night.”
“Because he chooses to sit and go nowhere.”
“Except to lean closer to the flick flick flickering deadlight that distract his notions with surround-sound voices telling him how to think, and overpowering the important sounds outside our curtained windows… of me… of us… of melted ice.”
The boy took her hand. “I’ll go anywhere with you as long as you lead the way.”
So she did.