Night Fog

I came home yesterday in the silent hour between late-night and last orders.  I'd parked my bike near the pub where the Man and I first met and as I unlocked it, and a pair of pub-goers drifted past me and around the corner, the whole world paused for a moment around me.  There were the strange spikes and unlit windows of the Bodleian, everything still against the shimmery ivory sky; and the uneven streets, the inky alley behind New College.  I went down that alley.  No sound but the din of my own breath, the occasional whisper from my bicycle wheels.  Everything quiet; everything misted.  The damp settling in frail, tiny beads.  Then vague and ghostly sounds as I approached another pair of pub-goers; I chased their voices around corners until, nearly at the High Street, I met them, passed them by, came out onto the black strip of evening activity.  The hum of a kebab van and the frantic high-heeled steps of girls going to nightclubs. Cars on the roundabout gliding from lane to lane.  The Iffley road deserted.  In honour of a friend of ours, who is moving back to her home country after a long time, I went down Denmark Street.  Then onto our own street, which had gone to sleep already, it seemed.  Maybe it was a magic mist, conjured by Puck to send lovers into healing slumber.