The nightclubs tucked in at 2:30 a.m, long before the sanity of dawn. The taxi driver rolled down the window. Where ya headed hon?
Sixth street, I said as I got in the back. Sixth street and 22nd, North East. Best bet, Langevin Bridge, then Edmonton Trail. I drilled my attention into the cab's upholstery.
My customer is always right as new rains, the driver said. Humm... He laughed. S'pose tonight, I should be sayin' as right as fresh snows. He offered a crinkled smile reflected from the rearview mirror. He had big round glasses, a sparse beard. I knows, he said. I knows.
We pulled away. The bright promise of downtown Calgary receded in crystal orange halogens and confetti snowflakes.
My stomach felt like lead from the punch below the sternum. I had collapsed against a light standard and fought my way loose. A date from hell. I should never have begun it, and I never would again. Grape-sized tears spilled in spite of my heroic efforts for control. I opened my purse and fumbled for a ten, a bill I could shove at the driver without discussions about specific change.
I hope you had a fine evening, Miss! We're here. The driver waited before he opened the back door for me. I gathered my resolve, flinched with pain. He took my arm. No need to rush, my cabbie said. He ignored the bill. No charge. Elegantly, kindly, softly he helped me stand.
I just knows.