“So do you really have something to do?” I asked her as we walked in front of the group. There is something thrilling about having a private conversation in a group setting, mysterious and kind of exciting, like an open secret.
“No. Do you really want to go to a college house party?
“How about I take you on my famous walking tour of the city?”
“Sure, that sounds nice.”
As we approached the train station, we turned to the rest of the group and made up some bullshit excuse for not attending the house party. I felt a tinge of anticipation, as I look forward to this unexpected evening. I can’t recall the last time I stayed out past midnight. It was 12 AM.
“Where are we going?” she asked.
“Let me show you my favorite view of the city at night.”
Conversation was sparse as we walk through the neighborhoods at night. I took in the tranquility of the quiet darkness, while relishing in the feeling of having someone to share this moment with, even if she was unaware of it. I checked with her constantly to make sure she’s not too tired, just for a chance to catch a glimpse of her face.
We walked out onto the lake away from the stillness of a city asleep. We stopped and turned around, greeted by the dim lights of the city skyline, illuminated by the moon. This is my favorite spot of the city at night. For a moment, we stood there, looked onto a city that seemed to shine so bright compared to the darkness of the lake behind us.
“This is a good spot,” she confessed.
“I know. I’ve never brought anyone else here.” I said as I sat down along the ledge of the walkway, determined to make this night last longer.
“I’m glad you decided to move to this city.” she told me as she took the spot next to me.
“I’m glad I did too.”
Even surrounded by darkness, I can see her more clearly than ever. She stares at the dimly lit skyline of the city, a hint of happiness peek under her faint smile. She leans back against her hands, looked up at the sky, appearing to soak in the night. I wish I could know what is going through her mind at this very moment.
“So why are you moving away? You should stay.”
“There is so much to experience, so much more outside of this city.”
“Then go out and experience them. But come back. Stay in this city.”
I’ve never been in a place where I see myself staying forever, not even entertained the thought. But at this moment, that very thought flashed through my mind. I could stay. I could stay and be content, even happy. I don’t need anything else to quench my thirst of curiosity, all I need is right here in this city.
“Maybe.” I answered. I let the silence that follows envelope us.
“I’m thirsty,” she broke the silence as she got up from the ledge.
“My aunt owns a liquor store down the street, lets go there.”
The fact that I have to wake up in 6 hours had completely eluded me. The thoughts of tomorrow and the day after no longer exist. I just want this night to be forever.
We walked along the shore, headed back to the sleepy city. On the way to the shop, I took her on detours to show off my other favorite parts of the city. The first shitty apartment that I lived in when I just moved to the city. The nearby park that I used to spend my lazy autumn afternoons. I yearned for her approval and secretly hoped these would become her favorite parts of the city as well.
We arrived the liquor store, and I took out my keys to open the door. The inside was mostly dark, lit by the lights coming from the humming fridge that lined one of the four walls. I took her over to the light and we picked our drinks. She opened her drink and took a sip. I watched her out of the corner of my eye and contemplated staying in this city.
“Better?” I asked.
We both sat down on the floor with our backs leaning against the doors of the fridge. We are once again silent, only accompanied by the quiet hum and the gentle vibration of the machines. It was 3 AM.