“let’s stop and have a drink,” she said. i kept driving.

“come on home, girl, you don’t have to love me and we can get high awhile,” the radio sang.

“you’re no magic man,” she said.

i took my eyes off the road for a second to look at her then back at the white lines flashing by.

“no,” i replied, “i’m a magician. i can see right through you.”

the city changes at night. just after nightfall one can feel the obvious shift. the knitting has loosened, allowing true darkness to seep in. the sharp edges of day continue to exist, but our perceptions of them have dulled. the concrete walls scare us less.

“where are we going?” she asked, watching the lights pass over the car. light, grey, light, grey.

“south. but we’ll turn north again soon,” was all i could tell her.

soon after the rio motel, the freeway splits into two levels. i took the lower deck. we were in the bowels of the city now. i hung in the left lane, the safe lane. people pouring on and off the freeway to the right. one could still see the tower and the capitol, both lit, between the quickly passing buildings. almost a flipbook effect. i could tell she was looking at them from her window.

“the knitting is tighter during the day,” i said offhandedly.

“what knitting?” she was looking at me now.

“the knitting of everything. the world, life.”

“whatever. let’s get a drink. come on.”

“wait. not yet.”

i got off at eighth street. one street to the left and we’d truly be downtown. i took the turnaround at seventh and headed back north on the access road.

“well, you were right about that, anyway,” she said with little feeling.

“naturally,” i answered.

we raced north, back on the freeway, splashes of artificially lit green flying above and beside us. road signs. barely slid between cars to grab the upper deck this time. a whispering idea about the feeling of smashing into that concrete wall separating the beginning of the split decks crept through my mind. left with one small echo to remember.

we passed main streets in the distance. more brightly lit than other areas of the night. stars in the ocean, it seemed. stars in the trees and stars in the streets.

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