Driving Home

His mother heard him yawn in the backseat.  She turned around to check on him.  Out in the country, there weren’t any street lights, but she could just make out his face.

“You tired, honey?”

He yawned again.  “A little.”

“Did you have fun at grandma’s today?”

A sleepy smiled formed on his mouth.  “Yep.”

“Why don’t you sleep while we drive home?”

“Okay.”

He stared out the window.  It was too early in the season for snow, but the car was still too chilly to sleep.  Also, the sky was full of stars.  Outside of the city, there were so many more to see.  He recognized a few constellations from his books.  He tried to remember how to tell the time from the position of the big dipper.  It had something to do with where it was around the North Star, but he could never keep it all straight.

There were no other cars on the two lane road, so the only lights besides the stars and the dashboard were the flashing red lights on towers in the middle of farm fields.  Whatever the towers were there for, the lights seemed to say they were working.  But there was no obvious explanation.

Finally, he asked.  “Mom, what are those red lights for?”

“What red lights?”

“Those ones, on the tower over there.”

“That’s so airplanes don’t fly into the towers.”

“Oh.”  She had answered his question, and it made some sense, but something still didn’t seem right.  However, the car had warmed up, and sleep seemed more and more irresistible.  The last thought before he drifted off was why had they bothered putting towers up just to support lights to keep airplanes from flying into the towers?  It seemed simpler to just not put up the towers.  By then, sleep had taken hold.

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