I hear them before I see them from across the parking lot, hooting and calling
out on the street, two boys on skateboards surging up Main Street, another boy on a bike ahead of them, heading west toward Fremont.
I emerge from the sliding glass doors of the market with my sack of soup vegetables.
I never get a clear glimpse of them, don’t really look at them as I cross the parking lot. Because I feel like I already know them, so I don’t even bother to look.
I am shifting the sack of goods as I walk from one arm to another, avoiding a Smartcar turning at me, reaching for my keys with my free hand, already making my soup in mind after 3 days of bad cold or flu. But I have registered them as they rush lanes of traffic on Main Street to the opposite side. I like how the boyish shouts rebuke my indifferent silence.
They cross the twilight median under the big ficus trees for the far sidewalk.
They cross over into twilight shadows, charging through them like figures of speech in some poem.
Like flying horsemen or like ravens, like this or like that metaphor, boys with the changeable energy of boys, like figures gesticulating in dreams or like the boys we once were. Rushing out on the horizons of their own lives like pronghorns.
Crossing into the twilight shadows I don’t even distinguish let alone really see, the boys like ragazzi in the background, extras in some black and white 1960s Italian movie.
But partly I am listening to their voices, which have crossed over to the other side.
No break in traffic, no emergency screech or sound of accident, twilight assumes the flow into evening. I set the sack on the passenger seat, drive out of lot into twilight myself. I catch a last glimpse of them out of the corner of my eye as I pass, the bicyclist keeping pace with the skaters in front of the boxing club and the Jehovah’s Witness churchfront, heading toward Carroll’s Brake Service, but already I’m ahead. They’re just half-seen figures barely inscribed inside a couple lines here; they’re on their way and passed far beyond, throwing giant shadows across a blue evening.

 

City Lights Bookstore, April 2014

City Lights Bookstore, April 2014

 

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