It doesn’t happen very often that the fog and the quiet coincide. Not here. Here was not a place for fog. Who ever heard of Atlantic fog, anyway? Not here, not wedged between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic, on a slab of land as smooth and flat as, well, a swamp.
The fog didn’t pause here often, and definitely never on little cat feet.
The quiet didn’t pause here often, either, not inside or outside. Outside were layers of neighbors and four-footed bark machines who were wound up each morning and set on loop on loop on loop to run from nine until five, reset every time little cat feet or brown-clad parcel delivery men trotted by merely to raise their ire.
No, the fog and the quiet were infrequent visitors, welcomed gladly by some — mostly the out-of-staters — but exploited as breaking news by the hurricane-worn meteorologists to whom category five is just another day but fog — oh fog! — is a newsworthy anomaly.
But on this morning, briefly, a curtain of twisted fog and quiet drifted in and rested lightly overhead, an undulating curtain of phantom peaks and ridges — a nod to mountains where there were none — lifting, waving, turning, spreading its long white wings over the earth.
But no one, except for the Pacific-coast natives and the meteorologists, saw it.
Impatient drivers and tired commuters lined up at the toll both, honking out of sync while fumbling with quarters and dimes, eyes seeing only just past the windshield, driving like automatons only as far as the timecard required, hearing nothing but the cubicle chatter, until it was time to return again, back out through the fog, to the layers of noise which switched gears at five.