At The End Of The Night

It's becoming a regular thing, our end to the night. We four are always the last to stumble out the door. The lights are on, and the music off, a clear sign that we were overstaying our welcome and its time to leave. The bartender will say his farewells, and firmly shut the door behind us. We'd pick our way down through the roadworks. Fighting elaborate sword sequences with the barrier tops. Climbing over the tractors. Walking arm in arm, yelling insults and jokes and laughing as we made our way through the dark, up the empty street. Sometimes we'd dance, and leap and perform fancy aerobic feats. Sometimes we'd stumble and use each other to stay upright. Still, the destination is always the same. The White Lady is a long white trailer, dressed in fairy lights, parked up next to the sidewalk. She's the only light source on the deserted street, and we're never ever the only ones waiting quietly on the pavement for some fried goodness. I always eye up the strangers, where have they come from? Where are they going? The rest of Newmarket is deserted, and it's eerie to see people appear from nowhere, drawn into the light.

We always eat at the same place, a low stone wall in The White Lady's shadow, next to her tractor. Sitting side by side, us four. The boys always order something with meat in it. And onions. This always prompts the brief and well rehearsed debate about how disgusting onions are. I enjoy my onion-less cheese toastie. The cheese always burns my tongue, and I'm always sad when I've finished it.

If we're lucky, a taxi will be waiting in the taxi stand, further up the road. Waiting for stragglers such as ourselves. We'll all pile in, still laughing and joking. The boys always seem bigger in the taxi, and I imagine they have to fold themselves in to fit. Generally I'm squished between two of them, but I don't mind. Its comfortable in the back. Soon we're off, driving away. Street lights flick past, the houses quiet and still.

I'm the first stop, the first one out. I'll climb out of the taxi, over knees and elbows, and stand alone (or not alone) in the dark. The taxi moves out, and I'll watch the red tail lights disappear around the corner before walking up the drive.

I like that this is becoming a routine. A regular end to our crazy nights out. That I can rely on my friends to get me home safe, that the night isn't quite over just because the bar closed it doors.

It's just nice, is all.