Wind tearing at my helmet, I let it pull my head back and up, as if hands were cradling me, and stare at the star rich sky sliding above my mother’s head as we thrum up the highway North. I know I’m likely cold, blood slowing and a chill setting in, but I can no longer feel it, I’ve been sitting perfectly still for too many hours. My body has fallen into stasis, it’s merely an organic part of the machine we’re riding, one hand locked around the passenger handle, the other braced on the gas-tank, motionless, and it has nothing to do with me. The only things that move are my eyes, as if the edges of my helmet are the edges of a screen and the stars are a hypnagogic film spun out of my memory.
“I’m sorry your girl left you. It’s hard, sometimes.” “This one was the special girl, I liked her even more than I liked sex with her.” “Though I don’t relate to some of the background there, I do understand. Want to know my sad-hearted secret?” “Sure.” “I knew he’d started seeing someone else, months ago, before anyone ever thought to tell me.” “How’s that work?” “He stopped writing me back.”
An old man three tables down keeps raising his tired voice to answer moments of our conversation. We are five slumped at a table which seats four, geek t-shirts and utili-kilts, politics, software, and video games, tired from dancing, hoping for food. Our perfect, tragic waitress, dark haired, pretty, looks over us to him, frowns, shakes her head, and puts the pad away as we order. “Don’t mind that,” the antique sound of a scratched phonograph, “How was your night?”. She’s a friend, warm, kind, and brings us extra whipped cream in the milkshake we split.
When the man stands up and shuffles past us to the back of the cafe, the dim light erases his face, so he seems made of darkness, only the shape of a man inside a worn thrift-store suit.