My favorite nights are the ones that smell like fabric softener. It seems that no matter how cold the air is on our faces, passing through a cloud of someone's fresh laundry warms us instantly. Tonight everyone must have been tending to the chores they neglected over the long Halloween weekend for the smell of Downey got thicker and heavier the further we got from home. It followed us across the street and lingered faintly on the tree-lined island running down the middle of Bowles. Occasionally the wind wafted it our way as we circled the darkened baseball fields, sloppy with snow melt, silent and haunted. It floated after us as we climbed the hill overlooking the lake, Dunc dragging me behind him. The night was complete and solid by then, and not even the peaks of the mountains glowed with the last of the day's sun. Standing high and looking down on the reflection of the lights of Littleton spread out before us like towns seen at midnight from airplanes, he leaned into the breeze––which did not smell of coffee from the Starbucks or french fries from the restaurants on the far side, but clean and warm, like something carried with us in our pockets. He closed his eyes, prompting me to do the same. Together we stood and breathed. Just breathed. And drifted through the warm scent of home and memory and companionship.