Begins at Sundown

by Dan Sanders

It begins at sundown, so we’re going to be late, because of who or why doesn’t matter, it’s just the way it is. I haven’t seen previews, the opening act or batting practice in ten years. The moon will be high overhead when we get there. It will have already happened and my teeth will be more worn and my hair more white and my steering wheel more bent and cracked. My heart might give out early – that might go early – everything else will be late to the point of why bother.

It’s a lot of stress to be late for something you don’t want to do in the first place. Like psychically everyone will think you made you late because you don’t want to be there anyway, like they can see in your head when you walk through the front door all you want to do is keep on walking through the party, grab a drink on the right, set it down on the left, nodding the whole way through, “Weather!” “Politics!” “IKEA!” “GOTTA GO!” and right out the back door and home and dropped into bed like a conveyor belt that makes brief awkward appearances, cranks them out biweekly. The machine needs fine tuning. We’re late, going to miss Weather and delay Politics! because we’re late and we’ll have a long conversation about Traffic! and Road Choice! because people are Fascinated! by Cars!

After the detour we’ll still wind up at Politics and we’ll pretend argue about things we don’t understand until we talk about Food! we’ve recently eaten and all of this could be done at home, before we decided to do this, before we were late. If we’re lucky, we’ll get there in time for the creshendo and all the sparks and explosions will overshadow the conversation and we won’t have to talk at all, and once it’s faded we can escape while people shake the spots from their eyes and the silence in their ears and go home under the quiet, natural light of the moon before we argue about whether or not it was a nice time, whether it was worth it, whether anything is worth it and why don’t we just keep driving until we’re out of gas and start walking until we find someplace else to live? It’d be easy. I could make some beautiful machine and we could live forever from the profit. It’d have a long line of levers and a conveyor belt that just pointed out right into the desert and whenever we were ready, whenever we could bear it, we’d just pull the lever and out we’d go back out to the sand and stay there until the spots cleared from our eyes and the silence from our ears until we turned it off, dismantled it for parts and left everyone else for dust and embers.

 

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