In the middle of hopscotch, I
stopped, quivering, my legs wide open on the six and seven chalked on the driveway. Cool air
scoured my knees. My face
blanched. The nubs of my chest
curled up. I flung the potsie off into the blue pine tree. I was too old for hopscotch. I wasn’t playing the game against
anybody but myself.I was
alone in the deep way that being outside in the pre-dawn in your nightgown and
bare feet makes you alone.
I was losing the
night. The dawn stretched across the end of the block, where the road curved
away from our neighborhood, where a stream bounded a field, and flowed away. I
had always wanted to know where that stream led, and maybe this weekend, I’d
follow it, but who was I kidding? I had too many responsibilities to play the adventurer (or so I thought at fourteen). I shivered, the cold and light rooting into me. I
forced myself to stand absolutely still; I could do this if I had to do.