As the afternoon light dwindled, the boys scrambled and ran off in the direction of the dead end. Beyond it was a vast field, wavy with unkept grass and weeds that would one day soon become a new section of their suburban development. They were all new to the neighborhood because all of the houses were new-freshly built, but every third one the same, so in that way they had something in common. It was as if they were pre-made friends. Seven years old and laughing at the slightest joke or silly gesture, casual and easy buddies destined for a summer with no responsibilities.
They took off their shoes in the dead end and scampered into the grass, sweaty and exhausted from a day of games and childish stories, but still energetic enough to beat down a circuitous path through the field. They chased each other and swore the way they heard their parents do when they were mad. But they weren’t angry at all. Just kids letting loose before they had to return home and sit down for dinner with those same disapproving and bitter parents.
The dying heat of the day made the concrete like fire to their bare feet, so they hurriedly put their sneakers back on, jumping up and down all the while. They gathered to take turns throwing rocks at the orange and white wooden slats in the dead end. The first to miss had to go home and before long they all had drifted off, dejected at the the thought of having another perfect day meet its end.
© 2021 Jeff E. Brown. All rights reserved.
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