Early Moments of Realization

The feeling of having the windows down for the first time after a long Western Pennsylvania winter, riding shotgun smoking cigarettes with a beautiful young girl driving and wishing she could be yours someday if only you’d speak up. Mustering up the nerve all day long as you just drive for hours, smoking, singing Steve Miller hits and her laughing at your sarcastic wit, even as untrained and unfunny as it is at this barely-driving-legal age. Just when you decide, for the fifth time, that you’ll just tell her, over a half of a fifth of whiskey you managed to swipe from her dad’s liquor cabinet, she notices one of your mutual friends and pulls over to pick him up…

Digging for quarters in the bucket of change your old man tosses his coins into every day after work so that you can muster up the $2 it’ll take to buy breakfast from the Foodland that sits down at the bottom of the hill that pours grass and broken sidewalks down from your grandma’s, where you and your dad live now, “in transition,” he says. Life is a transition, you say, coming up a quarter short and having to nab the extra two dimes and a nickel. A dollar and a dime for a pack of cigarettes, before Clinton killed the sport with excessive taxing, 65 cents for a 20 ounce Coke and a quarter for a donut. Find a good spot behind the funeral home and let the day begin exactly as it would every other day of 16 year old summer…

The old aluminum back door that portcullises Grandma’s kitchen to the back porch belts out a squeal that tells old Gram that you’ve snuck passed her and skipped morning prayer again. You run across the plastic grass carpeting of the porch and skim the tail end of your skateboard a foot or two along the cement walkway leading down to the street before you hop on, carve the walkway and cut into the grass, barreling down over the big grass hill where you’d one day break your leg from the slippery morning dew, slam into and across Lloyd street, ollie down over the neighbors four stair and continue on down their walkway, a 90 degree mix at the end that, assuming you made it and avoided slamming into the pointed stone wall of their garage, dumped you onto a smooth blacktop driveway and eventually out into the dirty, sulfur stained backstreets of 20th century Nanty Glo. Local metal head 20-somethings, anti-skater hick teenagers and the occasional pissed off old lady from the beer distributor would all serve as obstacles throughout your day-long skate sessions, but luckily at this early hour no one is out and it’s just you and the morning to grind, slide and kickflip your way through…

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