On Friday nights, as a way to celebrate the end of the week, my friends and I often go out to eat at one of the many restaurants in the greater Tacoma area (most recently we went to Tacoma Szechuan, a Chinese restaurant in Lakewood). We usually leave campus at around 6:00 pm, which means we’re usually sitting at a table by 7:00 pm. But it also means that, as we turn west onto the highway, as we often do, we catch the setting sun, in all its brightness, staring us down through the car’s front window—a circumstance that makes it not only difficult to drive, but also to do anything but hide. Our driver does her best to keep within the lines, as she dodges the glare reflecting off of similarly suffered cars. We emit groans, as we fear retinal damage. And so it goes; at 60 mph, we hurtle into the blinding sun.
But we’ll make it through, as we always do, and find ourselves enjoying, say, chow fun and beef broccoli. We’ll look out the window at the lavender sky—the sun always leaves a beautiful color in its wake—and talk about how the sun was so bright today, how we almost didn’t make it, but, of course, we did. And we’ll, each of us, think, perhaps silently, as we struggle to pick up the last piece of rice with our chopsticks, how often—especially now, in college—it can seem that we’re in a car, driving blindly at breakneck (responsible) speeds, into a future that we can’t see. But I’ll think to myself, It’s because our futures are bright, or some such thought; my friends will reach similar conclusions. And we’ll know that, no matter what, so long as we make it to dinner each night, to watch the sky fade from purple to black, everything will be all right.
We drive home. Some tired streetlamps go to sleep for the night. The roads are empty and the night is quiet. If we turned off the headlights, we’d be driving blindly.