We stayed up all night
with the daughters of Russian
immigrants, lounging by the fire
in hobo coats and corduroy
trousers, listening to The Cure
in the dark, talking until dawn,
watching the sun rise over the bay.
After sunrise, we made coffee
and pancakes for the sisters
and their parents, unconsciously
auditioning for the role of missing
son or future son-in-law.
Exhausted and content,
we walked to the station
late on Sunday mornings,
caught trains travelling towards
home, slouched in near-empty
carriages, tried not to fall asleep
before we reached our stop.
We walked from the station
across a silent, empty campus
to our solitary rooms, unaware
that our comforting weekly ritual
would soon quietly fade away.
1 February 2012