We stumbled upon a street festival in my old neighborhood, a steady drizzle dampening nothing but cockeyed rows of folding chairs. A handful of twelve year olds were tuning instruments and checking microphones. N looked at me knowing I would want to watch for at least a little while. Surrounded by excited parents we sat in the back and held hands.
The perfume of grilled meat and smoke curled around us, crackling in the wet air. I drew a deep breath and let it out slowly. If I still lived here this is exactly where I might be, I thought to myself.
The band transitioned from tuning to thumping away, launching into the first song. Feedback howling, sound levels running wild, they kept playing. A scrawny girl with white sunglasses propped on her forehead and a sheepy boy in a tight leather jacket sang together.
Just a small town girl, livin' in a lonely world
She took the midnight train goin' anywhere
Just a city boy, born and raised in south Detroit
He took the midnight train goin' anywhere
The drummer lost the beat completely as the song tumbled out, a spastic train on rubber band tracks. The girl stared out at the crowd, a smile plastered across her face. The boy grinned at her, one leg stomping out a rhythm for the two of them to follow.
The rain came down harder and we walked.
We walked for miles, as lightning burst in the sky, as thunder rolled through the valley of Times Square, as the sky grew dark.