Night Dwellers are not always easy to spot, even though every class has at least one. They’re the ones who look just like you and I throughout the day. A cozy sweater showing their school pride or favorite video game trend by day, each wearing tired expressions. The only way you can spot them is if you’re outside long after street-light hour.
Growing up, my mother told me to head inside for dinner once the street lights were lit. Little did I know that children are oblivious to those who thrive at such late hours. I remember when I first saw them, the night dwellers. They sported a gothic theme as they gathered behind the cul de sac. I would sneak out after I finished my homework to watch them. Sometimes my childhood friend, Bai, would see me out her window and run to meet me. If she was lucky enough not to be caught. They always traveled in packs to the trails behind my house. I watched their culture develop over the years. Rock music turned into techno-pop, black became an accent colour, and the group slowly became more recognizable in public as my classmates and friends began disappearing after dinner. The meeting spot must have changed by the time I was in high school, because the path was being used by the local kids for the newest drugs.
When I left for college, I noticed a strict line between college party crowds and those who lived in the night scene. Bai said she saw the division at school as well. I never had the urge to join that crowd. Not until I transfered and met Sirina. Bai and I met her in the corner store by our street before adulthood was a topic in our minds. Her lean looks and long dark hair attracted my attention. Her family had moved here from overseas. She was beautiful and still is. Now that all three of us attend college together, I had a reason to glance into the shadows. This morning during third period, she handed me a box.
“Love, this is for tonight,” she said with a shining smile. “You’re coming right?”
“If I’m still invited,” I laughed.
“Of course!” She playfully punched my arm, “I’ll pick you up at your place.” The rest of class breezed by. Before I knew it, I was on the road back home with my bag on my back and box between my arms.
Dropping the box on my bed, I sat at my desk to bust out as much homework as I could before nightfall. Bai sprang through the door.
“Yo, are you sure you wanna go tonight?”
“Are you going to tell Sirina that I’m not?”
She rolled her eyes and grumbled, “No shame in bailing. We are different from her other friends.”
“But we are her friends. She has been trying to get me to hang out with her since our sophomore year.” She frowned. I shrugged my shoulders before continuing my work. Each math problem seemed three times longer than usual. All I could think about was the burning sensation to open the box. After two hours had passed, I caved in. My papers were neatly stacked before being placed back in their respective folders and placed in my bag. I took a deep breath and wheeled over to the side of the sheets. The cardboard exterior was coated in an eggshell color to hide the beautiful art piece within it. My fingers traced the edge. ‘You don’t need this. Just wear something you already own,’ I thought to myself. I stood and pushed my chair into the desk. “Bai,” I called out. “I’m making spaghetti squash for dinner,” and left the room.
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