Thursday, March 16, 2006

Night walk

I have always enjoyed going for walks. It started when I was in high school. When most kids my age were spending their time driving around I was riding my faithful mountain bike down to the end of the road we lived on and then walking through the woods just enjoying the solitude. I never really did fit in and I would walk around and enjoy the beauty of the country. I would walk around and find deer and turkey, my friends who were hunters would get mad at me when I wouldn’t tell them where they were. Not that I am opposed to hunting, I just liked having some beautiful things to myself. Tonight I went for a walk. I don’t live in the country anymore, but I do live in a small town. I like to walk at night. There is a solitude to the darkness that wraps around you and give you an anonymity that is enjoyable. Tonight was cool so I donned a well-worn pair of jeans, my leather jacket, and battered hat and headed out into the darkness. At night I don’t have to worry about being accosted by the homeless people that are always asking for money or cigarettes. The cold kept everyone else off the street.
When I go for a late walk I always carry two things with me. Both are an old habit and I rarely leave the house without them, but especially not at night. The first is a good bright flashlight. I carry a small one. It is good for letting drivers know where I am since I prefer dark clothes, and it makes a handy weapon if I ever need it. The second is a lighter. The reasons for that are varied. It is a light source if the flashlight is dead and if I need to get warm it is handy to have a source of heat. Better to have both and not need them than need them and not have them. Once while I was out walking a cop stopped me and asked me if I had a light. A few days later the same cop pulled me over for a busted taillight. He remembered the light and let me off.
I always walk past this beautiful old house close to town. It is a huge thing that looks like it belongs in a horror movie. I always expect to see lightning striking it. If it weren’t yellow I would look for the wolfman to crawl out of the window. I read somewhere that it is called the Bankers House. I don’t know why but I always like to stop in front if it and wonder what kind of people lived there. I suppose that they were bankers.
I walked past a parts house where I found the slug of a bullet next to a set of tire tracks from a car that peeled out in a hurry. I never heard of anything happening there, but I don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to figure out that it wasn’t good. I still have the bullet somewhere. It was in a change jar for a long time, but the last few times I emptied it the bullet wasn’t there.
On the way back I turned down a street that isn’t so lovely. I don’t mind walking down it I am capable of taking care of myself, even with a busted ankle. I wasn’t looking for trouble I just don’t see any reason to walk back down the same street I just came up. There are some old houses back there too. I like to look at them even though most of them are run down. When I turn down that street I can feel the sixth sense that I have developed over time wake up and kick in. I don’t get paranoid I just notice things more than I do at other times. For instance I noticed the white Pontiac Bonneville that passed me three times. After the second pass I found a shadow to crawl into the next time it came by. I don’t think anyone has cause to follow me but I didn’t want to find out. I didn’t see it again.
Down the main street on town I heard a patrol car come by with the siren blaring. As he got close he shut the siren off and I could hear the engine as it sped through the darkness. I never did see the car but the sound was unmistakable.
I came to a dark place and stopped and looked up at the stars. There aren’t near as many here as there are out of town - the streetlights block them. The clear sky was dotted with silvery stars that looked down to where I stood. There was no moon, just the stars. I stood there for a minute looking out from under the brim of my hat. I shivered in the cold and then walked back to my apartment. The great thing about taking a walk is that it will all be there next time waiting for me.

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