Scene of the Ages

It’s both a heartwarming scene and one that pulls at my heart…this scene of the group of boys, who talk and visit on the corner of the parking lot. One is heading into junior year of high school, another is off to college, a third has already been at college for two years. They are gathered ’round the corner of the elementary school parking lot on a humid summer evening. Another boy, central to the group’s history together, is missing. He’s off in Europe. They’re probably talking about him. Something funny to be sure.

They were all going to head out to a diner, maybe, Max announced before he walked out the kitchen door to greet the group. But I see that they’ve remained on the corner, talking, each in turn, about things that I cannot hear.

I see them from the second floor front bedroom window where I’ve paused to pull the curtain aside. One of the boys shuffles from foot to foot, kicking a pebble as if it were a soccer ball from years gone by. Another is perched on a bike. First balancing, both feet on pedals, then dropping a foot down to keep from falling over. They are discussing many things. But then, other times, no one speaks. Pausing, they stare at the ground or look around. They mull things over.

They used to be gathered there, at this corner spot, to pass around a soccer ball, to cruise on skate boards, to accomplish many skate board tricks on the half-pipe they’d built with Scott. They’d work those tricks for hours. Many hours of them growing up together.

I’d come to the front porch and shout out about helmets and being careful. They’d smile (or smirk) and nonchalantly wave me off. At that time, one still carried a certain amount of baby fat before the burst of teenage growth. Another began to wear his hair in a shaggy long-hair look that still remains. His braces are long gone I see, all white where the metal once glinted. Today, each one of the group is quite tall and thin. The baby-fat child has broad shoulders…the bone structure of a man.

I watch the group of friends, curious to know what they are talking about instead of going to eat as they had originally planned. A change of plans for the evening that must be discussed for many minutes? Or, are they just catching up…remembering old times? No, they are talking about the future. With their air of calm and indifference, they speak of what may come to pass tomorrow, in the months ahead and during the seemingly endless time they have before them. They will leave this parking lot corner, each venturing out…going his own separate way…into life.

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