I remember soft June evenings.
The moon was still trying to get up the nerve to outshine the bully sun. The stars marched slowly toward your eye, coming into view over some horizon unseen. I had an idiot teacher in eighth grade who made a watercolor once with a sponge, smearing gaudy stripes of the wrong colors in shabby gradients across the swamp of a ruined rag of paper, and I’ll be damned if it didn’t appear in the sky just then. The last gasp of the sun tickles the tops of the tall pines while the purple of the evening rises from the ground around your feet like an incoming tide.
We’d coalesce on the dusty hillock where a house was meant to be built but never was. Take our bikes over the little hump and feel the thrill of being airborne over and over again. Later the real evening appeared unnoticed until the streetlights slanted across our faces. We shied away from the attention of even the dumb pole with its mute light, seeking refuge in the gloaming further back from the battered sidewalk, and the bad kids would bring cigarettes to illuminate our expressions like a flashlight with the batteries left too long in it. We were all the bad kids when the sun was full down.
Dad was murdered three decades in advance, and mom joined the seraglio that is kept but no one visits. We were abandoned to the world. It took us in and asked and offered nothing. The feeling that the world is a blank stare is a wonderful and terrible thing. A boy with whiskers just showing wants no pressure. No pressure is the worst kind.