Lisa pushed open the auditorium door, the one that lead to the nearly empty parking lot, and waited for the others. What were they doing? Combing hair? Putting tools away? Looking for cell phones, jackets? It was only barely cool out, a slight dampness in the air that would be gone by dawn. Better to go out in t shirts and shorts, to feel the dark coolness. By mid-morning, it would be bright and hot again, what seemed like summer until summer really came. She wanted them to hurry, to get out, to be out. The mercury vapor lights in the parking lot shimmered.
Sam was there first. He slipped a friendly arm around her shoulders. Let’s go! He owned these hours, was used to them, knew where to go.
Bobby looked tired. He came out with a girl from the lighting crew and her boyfriend who did sound. The set designer was staying behind to nap on a couch up in the scene dock. The six of them had stayed to finish the set. Lisa alone had built and pained seven flats. It was prodigious. They were proud.
They strode out into the night, looking for indications of sunrise on the horizon over the football field. Nothing yet. The whole big city around them was hushed. Lisa leaned closer to Sam, for warmth and happiness. Above and beyond them, it was dark, the dark, starry desert sky like a bowl and they were inside it, tired and on their way to breakfast. She inhaled deeply, thinking she could uncoil the smells one from the next – sage from the open land east of the campus, exhaust always, no escaping that, cold water and boy cologne, the hint of it along with sweat. She held it in. At breakfast she would sit next to him and draw hearts on the steamy coffee shop window where he couldn’t see.