After Tuxedo Junction had been played, after the sleigh bells rang and the cracking sound of the whip snapped from the percussion section, we streamed out of the theater into the cold.
Winter has come in earnest, it seems. And although we're thinking that the potted plants by the door will be fine tonight, when we walked out of the auditorium, the cold air was a bit of a shock.
We tucked our hands under our arms and turned down the walkway. Concrete columns ran along the sidewalk to the turnaround drive in front of the school. Beyond that was the practice field, although we couldn't see it in the dark, or the quarter mile track that runs around it. And beyond that, hidden in a strip of woods that stood only as a silhouette in the night was the hike-and-bike trail. And then the flowing river and the woods and the trail on the far bank. And then a hill and soccer fields with a rock island sitting in the middle.
Of course, we could see none of this, because it was night. But it was as if we could see it, because we have been to these places so many times.
On the hill beyond the road that runs beyond the soccer fields stood the Zilker Tree. Colored lights spiraling up more than 150 feet. A yellow-white star at the top. And a crescent moon was setting yet further beyond.
Trudy pointed at the tree.
We started walking to the parking lot.
Do you want to walk over there? I asked.
She was quiet for a moment, and then she said,
(Anyway, it was too far away.)
As I write this, I hear the sound of hot cocoa being stirred. And although I know this will sound sappy, I still see the moon setting behind that tree standing on that hill in the cold of the night on the other side of the river.
...and now for something hot to drink.
After the holiday band concert
S. F. Austin HS
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