The sun filtered through the green needles with the first real heat of a Carolina summer. The ground felt hot on my back, or maybe I felt hot on the ground. The smell of sap was everywhere. Though chaos engulfed me I heard only my own heartbeat.
Alex was seated on my stomach angrily raining down punches, the strings to his black hoodie whipping this way and that. Ray was to the side batting down my arms and slipping in a punch from time to time. Or maybe Ray was on my stomach and Alex to the side. Either way, they were both furious and red faced, which was more pronounced on Alex since Ray, as a redhead, always looked a bit pink.
Alice Drive Elementary stood, stoic in red brick, less than 50 yards away, but it couldn’t have been farther. The school year was ending. I was moving in a few weeks, likely to never return.
I could never return.
I knew I’d miss my friends, my two best friends especially, Alex and Ray. I’d also wonder, as I did that day under the pines, why our parting was so violent.