We walked the city after dark, talking about the things that mattered to us then: the most vivid ways to live, how to keep the fire ablaze inside; the girls we’d loved, the women we’d meet someday. We might even build a house, we dreamed, with all our other friends, out in the country, or maybe we’d move to some other country, away from all the clutter and flash. We smoked a joint and sat on a stoop and sang to the darkness. We’d decided to walk till first light, for the mildly wild adventure of watching an entire winter night. Toward dawn we passed a church and stopped to admire it and heard a woman singing inside, high pitched and thin as the glow from the moon against those stained-glass windows. We stood still and listened hard as flurries started. We watched our breath rise and mingle, the buzzing of the streetlamps as loud as her voice. I wanted to sing back to her, but she would never hear, so I started to hum. You hugged me then on the sidewalk, old friend, in your peacoat; you kissed my frozen ears, my forehead. Your breath smelled like wet wool — I remember that well, after all these years — and you told me you loved me. I said the same to you, though I couldn’t have meant it. Did you? We were just boys.