Last Sunday I was jogging my slowish move-the-chi jaunt through my neighborhood when up ahead I noticed a little boy on the other side of the street, running with all his might down his driveway, and then, with just as much force and momentum, slamming on his sneaker-footed breaks and lurching to a stop at the precise line where his driveway became the blacktop of the street.
The boy’s trajectory caused him to sway out over his feet and then snap back. As I drew closer he ran back up the drive, turned around and bolted back down… stopping with the same Roadrunner deft, the only thing missing was a cartoon “boing.” He was maybe five or six, blonde, and muttering to his stopped cold feet, “Don’t go in the street. Don’t run in the street.”
The sun fell softly through the greening trees and as I passed, the boy was trotting back up the drive to try again, my neighborhood blurring and blending with everything from the street where I grew up to Grover’s Corner where Emily could just as well have been standing there, unseen, wistfully watching the boy practice staying alive.