The crash of breaking dishes and the harsh voice of his mother’s jealousy drove the boy out of his house into the cool autumn night.  He pulled his jacket on and headed east along Monroe road turned right a block from his house and headed south on the curved sidewalk he had walked and ridden his bicycle on a thousand times while growing up.

He felt a cool northern breeze against the back of his neck.  He pulled his collar up, thankful that he brought his jacket. The smell of burning leaves told him that winter would soon be arriving.

He looked up at the pin points of light against the blue, black sky. It was a perfectly clear autumn night. A three quarter moon lit his way around the big curve at the bottom of the inclined sidewalk alongside the hedge in front of old lady Behnke’s house, the crabbiest lady in town despite the fact that her husband was president of the Midwest corporation one of the biggest employers in town.

The Girl  walked along the hedge on the opposite side of the curve feeling alone and overwhelmed with sadness and despair; perplexed and fearful about a future without her mom. She walked with her head down, arms wrapped around herself, huddled against the cool autumn air.

They didn’t see each other coming in opposite directions.

They looked up at each other as they collided at the bottom of the big curve. “Oh, jeez … I’m sorry,” he said.  Then,  “Oh! Hi!” he said, embarrassed.

She mumbled something. He saw a quick smile pass over her face. She looked down for a moment then back up at him.

continued …