by Anthony J. Cassarino
Naperville Crossing, Illinois
The fields prospered with crops and endless imaginary lands. We rode bikes for hours in the blistering sun. We would stop in at the local 7/11 to get a Slurpee– my favorite was the cotton candy. The edges of the neighborhood were our territory. We spent our time make believing as astronauts– traveling to the solar systems of Star Wars. The growing pains were painful, but we made do. The fields of the farmers were always a mindful warning: do not enter. It was the only forbidden bastion of nature we had left. Sure, we had the straggler tree or two. It was nothing like the Appalachian Mountains of the East, or the Sierra Mountains of the West. I can still recall the bitter taste of a Marlboro Red as I rode my bike at fifteen. Now when I ride in my shitty car back home, all I see is Starbucks and movie theaters ready to take my last few dollars. Our bikes are rusted and flat. Our pockets are empty. Our parents are grey and old. At least the 7/11 is still open when I go back home. Cotton candy flavor is still my favorite.