A cold river winding under narrow bridges, grey water and white froth, winter beeches pale on the bank, everything brittle, gone to seed, waiting for snow, which will come. The dark mountain rising to our other side. He drives us on the road between mountain and river, tense, his body pitched to high for me to touch him, a note in the car that I can feel but not hear. He should smoke, I think, imagining the cigarette he would hold between his fingers, his pursed lips. The November mountain always rising, steep and brown to my right as we drive west. It is the first hour of daylight.
Firelight, yes, it's true, and windows that look on flat black. There are stars; we know because we saw them, we all went out without jackets and scuffed through loud leaves, our arms wrapped around our own bodies in the cold. We saw them, it's true, stars in their millions, and our laughter clouded out of our mouths, but now we are here in the firelight and the stars burn outside. He makes jokes that hurt himself; he hangs his head, shakes his head, laughs. He drinks whiskey and, yes, it glows. I want to put my face against his neck and feel the heat it leaves in his throat.