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After every outdoor concert,

And twilight poetry reading,

And school concert,

Anything where everyone gathered and everyone brought their car --

My parents would pick up stakes at the last act, and we would rush to the parking lot,

in order to get out before the rush, the crush of cars.

To my regret, I never thought, or even suggested until now --

What if I decided to be the last one out?

To sit there, in the gathering dark, as everyone scrambled away to their cars,

Giving me odd looks --

And I would sit there, with the last of the cheese, telling myself,

"Somebody has to be the last one out.

Somebody must be the loser,

somebody has to be at the very end of the long line."

And why not welcome it? Why not take the chance to relax, to make it the last part of the evening,

the way some music ends

by fading into silence.

Why not end the evening with a hush?

Instead of fuming at the end of a long line of fumes that will move no faster, no matter how much you curse.

Your windows are rolled up. No one can hear you steam.

But, I never had the opportunity to discover if anyone did this,

And the end of all such evenings was the race to the car,

knowing that if we were not close to first,

The wait would be long,

and without peace.

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