we waited past the silence. first came night and then came lights out and then came the silence, but the silence is too soon. you have to wait until the silence builds into the white noise of sleep, the creaking of beds as bodies twisted in REM, the steady huff of heavy breathing, the drone of the world outside folding into the still hum of indoors. we waited patiently, lying in our beds and staring at the stucco ceilings, and when we felt it was time, we made our move.
The window wheezed open slowly and Tasi looked at me with wide, panicked eyes and i hissed at him to keep moving. he took his leg and swung it over the sill and his feet crunched softly on the gravel when he touched the ground. i followed after and we tip toed along the side of the house until we were standing in the street with the moon pouring down on us like a spotlight from a tower. we stood still for a moment, breathing in the midnight chill. we looked at the house, at the windows of the house, searching for movement, and there was none. he spit on the ground.
Fuck you, he said, then gave the house a middle finger. i smiled and started walking down the street towards the highway.
there was a cold spring wind circling our necks that loosened the further we got from the house. we walked down the hill towards the sound of traffic. all the homes we passed were dark and indifferent, their manicured lawns flanked in shadows, protected by neatly trimmed bushes. it was lights out for Millbrae, past silence for all its residents. the streetlamps buzzed nervously above and it was the only noise there was. we seemed to be the only ones alive in the entire town, as if it were all ours to escape from. no other footsteps on the sidewalk, no cars smashing down the street. the highway was only a few blocks away and the bus would be there in any moment.
c'mon, i hurried Tasi.
we got to the highway and stood for a moment, watching the cars zooming north and south. there were more lights there, and the air was warmer. we walked along the road, following a knee level guardrail, until we came to a clear passage that would allow us to run across. we waited for a window then scrambled to the grassy median. there we waited for another window then scrambled to the other side, the one going north. the bus stop was in front of a motel, the red neon of the vacancy sign blurred into the florescence of the parking lot lights, bathing the bus stop in a pale orange glow. We sat at the bench, looking toward the horizon for an oncoming bus. Tasi pulled out a marker and tagged the seat next to him and i counted the little bit of money i had.
where we gonna go? he asked me.
i dont know, i guess ill go meet my friends in the Mission, you can come with me.
nah, he said, im gonna go to Sunndale, my aunt lives there.
Sunnydale? i said, damn. Sunnydale was a notorious collection of project houses on the edges of san francisco. a small grid of misery forgotten by the city. id never been there and never wanted to go there. their anger reverberated all the way to the pacific ocean. you can chill with me, i said.
its cool, she'll put me up, he mumbled.
i grabbed the marker and tagged the bus stop sign, then walked over and tagged the bench behind Tasi. in the distance we saw the shape of the bus slowly barreling towards us. i pulled out some money and gave Tasi enough for a one way ride. when we got on the bus it was mostly empty, just an old lady in the front and a drunk in the middle. we sat in the seats furthest to the back, on opposite ends, and opened the windows and let our elbows spill out into the passing night. for most of the ride we didnt say anything. the towns sped by in dim streaks of light. the barely paused as all the stops were empty. we had done it, we had done it. and we were afraid.