Red has been the color of the past 24 hours. A sort of crimson orange pinky amalgam that just hazes over everything, casting a glare over my glasses and the windows of my house, spotting all over the sides of buildings, brick or siding, shingles flecked and beaming back to the sun in admiration or attempted feeble admonishment I suppose. The green of the trees is overcast as much as the bottoms of clouds, and even as the heat finally rises near the calendar end of this temperately mild summer to almost sweltering, I can see the attitudes of the people in my neighborhood adjusting accordingly.

“Summer’s over,” Gino explains. He’s an old man, 84, moments away from dying, but you’ll still find him out pruning shrubs that don’t need pruning or weeding mulch chips from his garden before 7 in the AM. “Fall’s comin’ soon,” each word spoken as though it were a sentence of its own.

Simple statements, simple man. Several others congregate, none younger than an octogenarian, all discussing the standard topics, weather, traffic, the ongoing road construction just down the street. The hue cast over the world falls on their faces accordingly, and I laugh a moment. They’re always laughing, smiling, never standing around bored with nothing to say. They don’t need Miller Light or Camel Light to get them speaking, merely the presence of others. These people have all lived here for 50 years, and I’m the youngest man on this block, a third of the age of the youngest of them. I smile again and sip my tea then close my eyes and slip back into my dream. Red.

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