The boy walking aimlessly down the street appears to be painfully hot in his black, rock-concert t-shirt. It is too hot for early spring.
The old man feels memories of tiny, distinct bits of last summer, stunned at how fast time has whipped through and past a fall and a winter and now, at any moment, there will be the swishing and swashing of the heat of summer. It will be here again. The old man wants to freeze the time. He wonders if there is a drug for freezing time.
When the old man was a boy, some days would last forever, especially days when he wondered down streets that were radiating heat seasoned with slight whiffs of tar. One summer before seventh grade, he dreamed of making the basketball team, and each day he spent two hours in the blistering sun, starting and stopping all over a blacktop that had the infinite presence of an empty universe. Those hours never wanted to pass, and the terrible heat reinforced the hope that hard work might result in glory.
A bent-up, blue, plastic antifreeze bottle with a fuzzy, faded label blows by, buoyed and inspired by the south wind, ringing out like a bongo drum with each landing and shaking the old man’s sense of peace, causing him to crunch his hope for a passable day.
He sits there twisting his face with the envy for the boy who can be aimless. He feels the knives of purposelessness aligning his innards, but he longs to be aimless again and to be given days that will last forever.