My wife wanted sushi. She’d had a hard weekend at a dog show—not just running two of our kids but also working, doing her part to make the event fun for everyone, which meant getting up early and coming home late. Even doing something you love can be exhausting, so when she said she wanted sushi I responded with an unquestioning and positive, “Okay, sure, if that’s what you want, feel free to change your mind, I mean, there are other options closer and it’s kind of late already, but, hey, if that’s what you really want…”
Because the sushi boom of the 1990’s is over, because the place that was less than a mile from us closed—the one we went to so often they only had to see my name on their caller ID and they’d start preparing my regular order—getting sushi means a long drive. Fortunately for most of it I could take back roads, even if the sushi place itself is right in the heart of the congested Green Hills neighborhood.
It was traversing those back roads that an interesting thing happened. I found myself in darkness. The old money homes sit well back from the road on expansive lawns, and the streetlights are far apart. For long stretches my headlights were the only thing that illuminated the road ahead. I realized the last time I’d gotten sushi, the last time I’d driven to that part of town for anything, had been in the summer, and, I think, earlier in the day. The winter solstice may be more than a month behind us but the sun still slips below the horizon in the late afternoon and the winter clouds blocked any light the waxing gibbous moon might have offered.
I fell into a reverie, still conscious enough to keep my eyes and thoughts on the road, but feeling I could be anywhere, anywhen, the only person in the world.
Then the bright lights and cluttered stores of Green Hills broke the spell. Coming out of the sushi place I looked up at a new apartment building, lights glowing from all windows, active, frenetic life going on. There was also the blinking neon sign of the Donut Den, still serving up pastries to a few late customers.
Then, in just a few minutes, I was back in the dark, back in that reverie, glad for the long drive.