Every picture tells a story…
He was still young, almost 18, but many—no, most—would say too old to swing like a child. But the motion soothed him; a subconscious sense he could change his perceptions by mere movement. A shifting of view that revealed more of the world… and himself. To see what was before him, inside him, differently. He had read a lot, and he noticed things. People. The way they were to themselves, and to each other. And he thought he’d never fit in. Never be like them. Maybe a good thing… he thought so. But it also made him lonely. He hoped to find a place… somewhere in the world he had read about and liked… that felt right. Even if the story—its writer—had shaded it too kindly… showed it to the reader through tinted glasses and made everything seem beautiful. It was worth trying. Discovery and disappointment were two aspects of life he was not afraid of meeting.
He kicked his feet and pulled back with his arms—repeating the synchronized effort—to go higher.
Evenings like this made him think most. About how the band of sunset peach blended into the purpling twilight that darkened as the last light from the day had softened, settled and given way to the night. About the stars that now sparkled above a ramshackle fence that formed a boundary. Everything in his life—past, and for now, his present—was behind it. Everything he wanted… beyond.
The day ended under a cartwheel spread of pinpricks revealing the light found behind the sky. He thought how perfect the moment. He wanted that for life, but despite his youth wasn’t naïve. It can never be good all the time. But he would try.
God how he wanted to leave. To be on his own. Soon.
But first, he would kiss Betty Ann Nichols tomorrow night at the Spring Dance. He wondered if her lips tasted as sweet as he thought. He hoped so.