It is around midnight, when we are thoroughly tired out and our bodies are longing for bed, that the Guy and I venture out for a walk. I make an unholy noise opening the iron door, and pray I haven't woken up any early-to-bed neighbours. The Guy (who, unlike me, is not a klutz) shuts and bolts it quietly. We walk down the stairs in single file (the stairs not being wide enough for us to go down hand-in-hand). When I take the last step down out of the arcade and feel the cool night air envelop me, the sensation I have is that of having escaped. The Guy catches up. I look around - it is too late for curious neighbours. We walk down the lane, hand in hand. He makes an inane comment, I laugh out too loud, try to check myself, and end up laughing louder. As we walk out of the gates, the guard shouts a greeting. I smile and reply, and walk on.
A few people are on the street - in large cars with blaring music, astride roaring bikes, on softly sliding bicycles, and a few - like us - on foot. The moon is a glowing disc on top and a little ahead of us. Everything is bathed in moonlight. We stop before a large house - a villa - we pass often but never notice. The moonlight on its white and green and red facade make it look like a fairytale castle. We stop for a moment and wish it was ours.
We keep walking. The Guy keeps coming up with more of his absurd remarks, reminding me of the friend he was a couple of years ago, when that was his overruling characteristic. I laugh, but wish aloud that I could exchange this version of him with the perhaps rarer more serious, romantic version. He acts offended, but refuses to change. I resign myself to the present company and decide it is quite pleasant after all.
We find the coffee shop closed - as we expected. But it was our finish line, and we turn back. The moon is behind us now, but the romance is still heavy in the air. Tired, I drag my steps, and the Guy slows down his steps to match mine. We pass the fairytale castle again. This time, we do not stop to covet it. They may have the castle, but we have the fairy tale.