He sat in the back seat, eyes trying to gauge the distance to the puckered lights in the darkness. The yellow of the street lamps blurred into streaks as the car wound it's way through the slow curves of the city. Muffled glow bloomed from the suburban homes settling into their beds for the night.

His obsessive observations of the surroundings were interrupted by the yells of the others in the vehicle. Annoyed tones provoked a raised voice, then the third person in the backseat chimed in. The conversation escalated louder and louder, sarcasm fueling frustrations built on sour grievances unaddressed. Ears burning, he tried to make sense of the situation. With no understanding of why the eggshells had cracked, all the man could do was frown in the dark and listen.

Haughty and indignant, the group of friends moved their quarrel from car to house. The living rooms couches soon sagging under the load of supporting each person and their arguments. The original premises of their fight seemed forgotten, and every address a short bark for attention. Simple questions fired in accusatory tones instigated another round of contratarian comments, the man still sat quiet, unsure.

The friendship was familiar, it's history deep, and the roads paved together had been blazed in the glory of their youths. Now older, the days never felt long enough, the food not quite as good, and their minds continually preoccupied. What pothole was the cause of this bump was unknown to the seated observer; but he wished it were filled in with the better memories rather than the sludge of minor wrongs.

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