When it’s nightfall

When it’s nightfall, the old ladies with sunglasses will be gone and the birds will have simmered down. The air will grow sweeter with the trees, and out come the stars, poking through the sky — a block of cobalt fading into indigo then charcoal.

Darkness — loud music and headlights as far as passing cars go. Not knowing who was entering the park. Echoing voices, who was laughing in whatever group and about what. What was being smoked near the gazebo, in the children’s park and in the public lot.

And her: she pushed her seat back and turned her flashlight on, looked in her bag for her compact then pulled her sneakers off, switching to stilettos. Heading for the darkened clubhouse, she heard the bottom notes on a radio, the speakers shuddering.

Boom-boom, the music went. Then clapping of hands cutting through screeches of women. The thunderous voices of men — one of them yelling. Another car pulling in; a small pack of pigeons parting then sidling up by the tires, cooing for sustenance.

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