It was one of those nights when people stand outside. Summer or winter, it happens during that sliver of time some call twilight, others call dusk. In the summer, it can bring us together. People who end up outside at the same time nod or wave, even call out triumphantly. Winter is different. Every man stands alone, feeling chill and shadow, and knowing that a long night awaits.
I didn’t know it was one of those nights. There is no rhyme or reason to speak of, not being a common occurrence. What brought me outside was the arrival of a white van. Theft in the neighborhood a couple of months ago had given me a suspicious eye.
The van sat outside my house, motor running, for two full minutes before I decided to investigate. Once I had thrown open the door, it sped off down the street before disappearing around the corner. I looked around for any strangers. That was when I saw the rest of them.
A half a dozen of my neighbors stood outside just looking around, each man terribly alone. It was standing time.