Jun 10, 2017
Jimmy called me out on the patio and into the night. A part in the pine trees allowed the dark sky to touch us and the bright light of the full moon washed us pure. Through the competing orange glow of the street lamp, I watched a group of neighborhood boys clamor through the gate of the mobile home community across the street. The boisterous one led, talking in a yell and waving his arms in dramatic gestures, his loose afro bouncing in tandem with exaggerated body movements. Two other teens kept tight to his sides, finding safety in following, and maybe hoping his projected confidence would rub off on their shaky self-images. I wondered where these boys were headed, on foot, at night, in the direction of Las Vegas Boulevard - and thought of how different my teenage years were, how incredibly innocent I was. My adolescence was the very vanilla version of what I now witnessed in this neighborhood. More than anything, I hoped at some point, someone told these kids they mattered. After the crew crossed to our side of the street, they settled down a bit with the realization they weren't alone, yet kept moving at an excited clip down the sidewalk toward their anticipated destination. The fourth boy stopped on the pavement, separating himself from the pack as he angled his phone up to the sky. He lingered for a sweet second, snapping a picture of the very reason for our patio gazing. I glimpsed an opening of his true self, in a moment of magic and quiet appreciation. As much as I wanted for him - love, dreams realized, transcendence of circumstances - he already possessed the wonder within him to create it all for himself. He was a boy under the moon and in his purity grew his power.