Monday, June 15, 2009

The Autobiography of Someone Else - 7

Mom would always barge in during the last or second-to-last show of the morning, "Fat Albert," "Space Academy," always at the most frustrating moment, after we were full but before we were sated. We dreaded her intrusions so much that we were unable to enjoy the last hour or so of television, instead pretending to pay attention as we seesawed from guilt to fear.

"C'mon kids. Out of the house."


"But Mom!"

"Up, up, up, up, up! Get some fresh air."

No one cared where their kids went or where they were back then. Everybody's door was always open, mothers high on coffee buzzing through the neighborhood like bees, children tromping through kitchens with their muddy feet, mothers stronger than dirt, filling up another bucket. Is it wet, Mr. Clean? You're soaking in it.

I rode my banana-seat bicycle down Harvard to Dartmouth and up to Harry's house. He was out front on his bike, jumping a little bump in the packed dirt where the yard met the street. He caught a little air and landed wobblingly, pedaling up to me and stopping with a squeal and a skid.

"Wanna play Atari?" I asked.

"Yup," he said.

We dumped our bikes in the driveway and went inside. Harry was my best friend. I hated him.