Age of Consent

Y rides like the wind on a chilly Winter night during the last slow stretch of Fall. Cold, fast, and gone before you have opportunity to feel the palm trees move as it passes you by.

From the Coast Highway to the 710 to the 60, straight into the heart of the city, we fly down the black concrete band toward the collage of bright lights which taper up toward one elegant crowning point.

The nights are getting colder and the days are getting shorter and the night will turn to dawn before we’re all home.

We stop at Tony’s just after midnight.

We started deep in the OC, and made our way up the coast and over the blue light bridge into San Pedro. Some turned around and went back home, but a small group wanted to go further, itching for a long ride, ready to rip around the empty streets of the big city.

“So stop here and get a beer?,” asks Y.
“More like a few beers,” replies X.

There is a staggered chuckle from the group.

“I’m not objecting to anything with alcohol in it,” I say.

The red neon lights are calling us, and as the rest of us make their way in, X and I stay back to have a smoke.

“Are you gonna’ see her tonight?” he asks.
“I don’t know”
“What do you mean you don’t know?”
“I don’t. It just flickers and happens sometimes, and then sometimes it doesn’t.”

I pause.

“It’s not a regular thing.”

X thinks over this, and then says,”so what do you do about that?”

“I run with it, I let it happen, but I don’t push it.”

X takes a slow, drawn out drag from his cigarette, and then exhales.

“Well I’m not one to tell you what to do man, but just handle your shit, alright?”

“Alright,” I say.

He puts out his cigarette, and pats me on the back three times, like an old friend, looking out for me. He starts walking toward the bar and looks back, as if concerned for a second, but then keeps going.

I take my time and wait outside, against the wall, texting and watching every car that passes by. I carefully observe the catalog of moving shapes, looking for a familiar one.

New Order is playing inside of the bar, and I smoke another cigarette.

Won’t you please let me go
These words lie inside they hurt me so
And I’m not the kind that likes to tell you
Just what I want to do

The nights are bleeding into days, and the days are getting shorter.

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