At Summer’s End


Streaming, Planes, Stripes, Flying, Sky, Cloud, Sunset

It was going to be hard to say goodbye to the longer, hotter days that were filled with one adventure after the next. He’d miss the lightning bugs announcing the evening’s reprieve from the merciless sun. There would be no more snow cones and sweet, icy treats to buy from ice cream trucks that prowled neighborhoods like crack dealers.

The nights had been like swimming through liquid heated just shy of its boiling point. Mosquitoes swooped in like predatory birds, almost large enough to pick up small children and spirit them away.

But he was too big for that, now.

Gone would be the days of water balloons and water gun fights. Drinking out of a gardening hose was a perfectly acceptable way to quench thirst while avoiding some impromptu chore at home. And though it was illegal, he’d miss the ritual of busting open of the corner fire hydrant. Neighborhood water pressure be damned, it was a great way to cool off.

Evel Knievel tricks would suddenly be out of vogue because what kids wanted to lie down on the cold autumn ground while their buddies took turns jumping their bikes?

He imagined the sand at the beach would soon be bearable and not so much like walking on blazing coals. However, who the heck wanted to go to the water when the temperature dropped and the leaves began to fall?

Summer days yielded themselves to all sorts of games, like softball, Monkey-in-the-Middle, hide-and-go-seek, and his favorite, Catch-a-Girl-Kiss-a-Girl. So what if some of those smooches yielded scowls and the occasional slap?

The excitement of secretly subsisting off of penny candy, sour pickles, potato chips, and pop (something mothers would flip out about, if only they knew) would soon dull to boring packed lunches at school.

It wasn’t that he didn’t like school, because he would be able to see his friends whom he had not in so long (three months seemed like forever). He just wasn’t crazy about the idea of trading afternoons poring over his comic book collection for crabby teachers and evenings filled with homework.

The neighborhood pool, where anything of value that wasn’t in your trunks was sure to be stolen, would close. It would be another nine months before he could meet his friends there, look forward to splashing the pretty girls, and doing stupid tricks off the diving board.

Labor Day was so close, he could smell it like approaching rain. School would be back in session the Tuesday after and suddenly, treehouses, tire swings, and bike rides from one end of town to the other would be a distant memory.

He squinted at the sun’s stunning protest as it dipped toward the horizon. Exploding in a brilliant death throe of bright orange. Cirrus clouds seemed barely there, floating above like pink phantoms. On that side of the sky, where the moon jealously awaited its turn, everything went from indigo to black, stars twinkling here and there.

He drew a deep breath, watching the streetlights buzz, knowing he had only a few minutes before making it home. He tucked his slingshot into his back pocket. Upon the exhalation, he sucked his teeth, not so much angry as he was disappointed.


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