These are not my streets. But they are familiar.
Puddles glint as the streetlights dim. Cabs and cars whoosh by. We spill out of the bar, but it’s more of a gradual meander into the night. I want to close my eyes and blend into the darkness.
I want to stop and stand still.
The houses doze like small cats on the sidewalk. They stare us down. We ghost by them, laughing. The rain is fine and misty, it has not yet morphed into the full on storm. Above us 90-year old trees loom. The rain releases the smell of greenery, ripe mangoes and the deep, dark smell of acacia. Our shadows stain the pavement, flicker and disappear. Water gushes into the gutters.
It is pleasant: the long strides we take, the burn of the alcohol, the quiet city night. It is simple: new friends, old friends. Our voices falter as we speak. Our throats clog with memories of loved ones as one of us tentatively shares the grief. Later, we will toast to our dead and to the past and to time.
We shove each other and run up the streets. We are waiting for dawn, I think. Waiting for the light to burn away the memories of grief and love.
I have a sensation, and it’s an old one. I want to look over my shoulder. I am certain ghosts are following us.
There will always be ghosts following us.