I won't remember this in the morning. The way her arm feels wrapped around my shoulders. She is helping me into the car, her car, which is red like mushed up cranberries. The last time I ate cranberries was when I was seven. My aunt had just left her husband, who hated cranberries and raspberries and strawberries with obvious passion. She showed up on my parents’ front porch in the rain, which looked very dramatic like a scene from a sad movie. In her hands were bowls full of the berries her husband detested, and so we all sat around the coffee table with crisscrossed legs and ate red berries that stained our fingers and chewed and swallowed in silence pretending that my aunt wasn't on the verge of tears, that her life wasn't dramatic and upsetting like a sad movie. I don't like sad movies, because I like to live in denial. That's what my girl told me, anyway, that I like to live in denial. I don't want to acknowledge all the disappointments of this world, because then I'll be sad like the people in the movies, and maybe then I'll show up on someone's porch in the pouring rain wearing squeaky shoes and the wrong type of jacket and I'll pretend not to be upset even though I am.
She's asking me where my home is now. I've never called the place where I live home. Not for any specific reason, but I guess I've always considered where I am now as a stepping stone, a rest stop on the journey to a successful future. I never thought I would live in a shitty apartment next door to a crack addict and a low budget porn star for more than a year. This isn't my real life was always my state of mind. But it's been three years since I moved in and I still don't have a couch, because like my girl told me I live in denial, and I still refuse to believe that this could really be my life.
I told her where I live and she's taking me there. I don't recognize this street we're on, but she's telling me that we are close. There's something poetic about the way lights look at night, big and round and bright, juxtaposing the blackness and infiniteness of the sky. Traffic lights are beautiful at two AM, and I think that not enough people have realized this. Not a lot of people are outside at two AM, and I don't know why. This time of night is the only time I feel like a human, like I'm real, like I'm a manifestation of atoms and nerves and thoughts that get to ponder how we got to now and where we go from here. I don't know where to go from here, because even though I can ask the questions I don't always have an answer. But it's at two AM that I'm certain of my existence, that I am human, and she is too.
She says we are here. My home. The heat in her car is still running because I left my coat at the bar. It was my favorite coat. I wonder if it is someone else's coat now, or if I call the bar tomorrow they will have it in their lost and found. Living makes kind of a game out of lost and found. You lose yourself, you find a new you, or maybe you don't. Depends on how good you are at the game. She is helping me out of the car, her car, that is red like the bowl of cranberries my aunt cried into, and I feel again her arm holding my shoulders which I will not remember in the morning, or the morning after that, or seventy-two mornings after that. That's the truly disappointing thing about memories. After they are forgotten once, they are forgotten forever. Into the void, no second chances. Maybe that's where we go from here. The earth forgets us, and all our atoms and nerves and thoughts drift off into the void, lost in the sure infinite blackness of the night sky, where traffic lights flicker and glow, trying to compete with the beauty of the stars.