Tidbit Thursday on Saturday (Old Town 6/1/13)

Old Town

I could save the world. Or maybe just change it for the better. I guess we all could, but no one has yet. We’re all just doing this silliness. I guess we could be destroying the world instead, so this silliness will have to do.

It’s nice to be back in the old neighborhood. It’s just like I remember it. All the houses are right where they should be, even that horrible pink house. My place stands in the middle of the block, it’s one of the biggest on the street. It’s too bad that we didn’t have the whole house to ourselves. Years before we lived there they had converted it into apartments.

My mom used to talk about the places she lived in before that house. Of course, I never knew any of them. I only lived in this house my entire childhood. My first apartment after I moved out of this house was horrible. They all were, which only made my longing for this old house grow everyday.

I don’t know why it took me so long to come back. It’s not like I ever lived so far away that I couldn’t make a day trip back. But I’m back now and I know I shouldn’t, but I climb up to the balcony. It’s surprisingly easy. I had climbed up to that balcony so many times, most of the time to avoid being caught by those inside the house. This time isn’t any different.

The view from the balcony is great. I mean, there’s no landmarks. Just the old houses. Just across the street is The Reyes’ family. Every summer they’d throw these big parties in their backyard. I actually got my first kiss at one of those parties. While all the adults would sip from their and glasses we kids would find a corner and play whatever game we could think of that would result in a kiss. It was the youngest daughter Jennifer. I think for those few seconds I loved her, until she made fun of the scar on my forehead. I always had it, I always got picked on because of it. I got used to it.

Next door to the Reyes were the Prafters. I was best friends with their eldest son Luke. We called him Lucky, but I can’t remember if it’s because he was actually lucky or if it was because his name was close enough. He was actually the one who created the scenario in which Jennifer and I kissed. He came up with this game where we’d kick around a crushed up can. If you could kick it up in the air three times without it touching the ground, whoever it fell closest to after that last kick would be your kissing partner. I was glad that it was Jennifer who was good at the game and not me. It always seemed less sinister when the girl initiated the kiss.

I look at each house that I can see easily. Each one I know intricately, if not by actual interaction then by osmosis from someone who had.  As I sit there I start to hum. It’s a song that I’ve always hummed. It has no name, or at least if it does I don’t remember it. It’s just always been in my head somewhere. Some of my friends even pointed it out one day. They said it was annoying to always hear that song. It never bothered me, I always kind of liked it.

I take a look at my watch and I realize that I need to get going. But I can’t leave without leaving some sort of gift. I mean, this neighborhood made me who I am. Plus, my neo-hippie girlfriend would kill me if she found out I didn’t leave behind something. So I pull out a harmonica that I had taken to carrying a few years ago. It’s dirty and should probably be replaced soon.

I start to play a song. The only song I could. The song that had been in my head my entire life. I play it just as it comes to my head. Just like I had hummed so many times before. I have heard of musicians losing themselves in their music but I never understood it, until now. I just play and play. I have no concept of the old neighborhood anymore. Just the wood beneath my feet and the sounds coming from my instrument. It’s only when the song finishes that I open my eyes.

Standing in the window looking out onto the balcony is a woman. I know who she is, but I’ve never seen my mother look quite like that. In her arms is a baby. I don’t know what to do, so I give her a simple wave. I don’t remember my mom being so jumpy, but my wave sends her back. The baby slips out of her hands and hits the floor hard.

I see a flash of red appear across it’s forehead. In a very familiar spot. I reach to open the window and try to help when my watch beeps at me. I can’t even manage to say a single word before the time valley closes around me and takes me back home.


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