It was eleven o'clock at night, and Audrey's boyfriend was just leaving her house. As she watched him pull out of the driveway in his red Jeep, she thought about all the times she had seen her older sister stand in the same spot waiting for her boyfriend to get gone before she would turn out the light. Audrey remembered thinking all those times, "Why does she stand there? Why doesn't she just turn out the lights and go to bed? He has lights on his car; he can see." Audrey laughed at herself now. She was doing the same thing that she never could seem to understand before.
She saw that James had safely driven away before she flipped off the switch to the outside lights and returned to her bedroom. As she went, she marveled at how much she had grown up. It didn't seem like long ago at all when her sister, Megan, had still lived at home, and Megan's boyfriend, Michael would come over almost every night to see her. Now those two were married and living in a house of their own. They even had a baby on the way. Everything had changed in such a seemingly short period of time.
While she was reading that night, Audrey found her mind wandering. She thought about her life. She was a senior. At the same time the next year, she would be in a dorm room somewhere. Thoughts of finally being on her own filled her head, and she almost forgot that her Norton's Anthology of American Literature was lying open on her lap. She had to write a paper on the symbolism in "A Rose for Emily" the next day, and she hadn't read two pages of it.
Deciding that reading was a lost cause, she put down the book and laid flat on her back to stare at the cream colored ceiling. This was her thinking position. As she thought, she would let her eyes go out of focus and watch the creamy ceiling become real cream that swirled and sloshed above her. Her mouth had just begun to water for rich creamy coffee when she was jolted out of her reverie be the sound of The Eagles saying "one of these nights...one of these crazy old nights...we're gonna find out, pretty mama, what turns on your lights." It was her cell phone.