Turning. Driving. Night.

A tumbling fog of steam tumbles forward from my lips.

The steering wheel is cold to the touch of my fingertips as I turn into the heart of Downtown.

I will surprise you sometime, I`ll come `round.

Having closed the locked doors of my place of business, I am driving to pay a brief visit to my beloved before heading homeward. Traffic is light for Friday night, the bitter cold has kept the tourists at bay and the students inside coffee shops.

Arrival finds that my beloved is not there. The evening being slow as it is, she didn`t need to come to work tonight. Upon my heel, I turn back out to the Night. Whirling snowflakes spin and careen downward from the dark heavens. `Tis a lovely sight. I walk along the docks for a moment, to drink deep of the ephemeral deliciousness, before I am come to my transport and homeward bound.

Turning through the roundabout and wending ancient curves, I cross Eastport and cast my gaze out towards the Bay. The Sea is rough in this tempestuous evening, white froths of surf crest in contrast to the churning black water. Masts wave at the boatyard in a haphazard dance.

A peacoat-wearing and coffee-holding Dockmaster stands inside his post looking out, the fluorescent light illuminating dimly in a sickly white hue. The bright moon peeks out shyly behind the thick curtain of clouds.

Turning my eyes back to the road, I study the traffic ahead of me.

A few cars trail after a broad slow-moving sanitation truck, it`s rear compartment sealed in what appears to be a heavy canvas-like material. I only notice this because a sudden Gale screams across the bridge, snapping the small ropes that bind the canvas and sending it flapping against the side of the truck. The truck is filled with dead-dry leaves, and the wind raises a flurry of them. The red lights of the truck brighten, as the driver realizes what has happened and stamps out of his warm cab cursing in tufts of steamed breath.

Everything slows to a grinding halt, and even Time seems to hesitate in the face of the absurdity of it all. I watch in rapt attention as the scene unfolds before me…

…billowing masses of brown leaves fill the air and mingle with the falling snow. The Dockmaster looks towards the road and grins in a wry underbite as he brings a styrofoam-white cup to his mouth. The driver cursing and grasping desperately for the whipping strands of rope and torn canvas. Flickering red lights from a police officer who has taken an interest in the proceedings. Leaves continue to whirl in every direction, saturated icily by the mad huge flakes of snow and glistening along the roadside. The Christmas lights of a house along the Bay flicker in the distance, the faint blue glow of a television`s eager insignificance.

From the stereo, Interpol intones lowly in deep baritone groans: “Surprise, sometimes, will come around.” My hands are still cold on the wheel, but my face is flushed ruddy and warm. Tear-trails dry upon my cheeks.

Turning the wheel down one street and then the other. Forgetting this tiny wonder for those that await me at home, I smile in secret and hidden in the darkness.


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