Written after the power went out on Saturday, following a shockingly good Old Fashioned in a bar where I’d gone to watch the World Series. As of Monday morning, the power is still out.
The pizza place has power. It’s not the best pizza, but it’s good enough, and they have lights so that changes everything. “We’re out of regular crust,” says a calm, young woman with dyed black hair, “But we have gluten free.” Her admission is nearly an apology.
They are giving away ice cream; it’ll melt anyway. It’s fantastic fucking ice cream. Mushroom, yes. Chocolate peanut butter, come to me. Get in my pizza belly.
We return to the street. There’s a man in a hat, a cowboy hat, silhouetted against one of the rare businesses with a generator, and he’s lit only by the tiny red circle of a cigarette, burning against the deep dark dusk. It makes me want all of the nostalgia that goes along with burning cigarettes and cowboy hats, an era that was never mine but which I can pretend is within reach.
It’s no good to want someone you can never have. You could be lonely forever, if that’s the case.
But there’s a wedding, on a lawn, well-lit and hidden under a white tent. Someone makes a toast; the sounds swell from one voice to many cheers, and then music. What a story, to begin marriage in a power outage; it warms me, to think of this anonymous pair.
The stars are mind-boggingly beautiful. People think one another are beautiful and we are – we all really, really are! – but the stars. My god, the stars. There is nothing that shines so bright. I see one falling, I see one shooting, and there is no equal. I shout out in surprised joy and I think everyone who is with me is embarrassed, but I am not self-conscious. I am amazed; I have seen a wonder.
They’ve put ground-level Stop signs next to the blinking traffic lights. Everyone obeys, which is sweetly obedient and lawful and right.
I forget how dark the dark can be. We drive through town, heading home. It feels fun, temporary, not at all serious. I am lucky to feel that in a power outage; I am fine; I have what I need. Maybe I will buy a new notebook for writing in.
Such darkness. A time for the unsayable. But man: the stars are so lovely.