Before the realization of our mortality came into play, before panicking was a daily routine, life just wasn’t taken as seriously as kids. Everything was peaches.
And upon the realization that we would one day die, you could either rebel in the streets or hide under your mother’s skirt, awaiting and fearing the inevitable casket close.
We, the Kingsbridge kids in New York City didn’t take to well to hiding.
Upon realizing that our death was always right around the corner wedged somewhere between the greasy Chinese restaurant and the Dominican Bodega, we were set loose by the lack of one another’s inhibitions.
We kids understood what was preached to us, but we never listened anyway.
And when we fucked up, we took our parental beatings with a smile; even the ones with the belts, fists, and wire hangers.
We broke all the rules, broke all the windows, bottles, all that was made of glass.
We showed no respect for authority and nosey neighbors until Grandma started yelling.
We told girls we liked them just for a quick kiss and then to watch their hearts break.
We fought each other over nothing, friends fighting friends over nothing!
Parents told us to stay away from cigarettes, but we never felt more alive inside that cancer cloud.
Parents told us to stay away from booze, but all insecurities vanished while inebriated.
We ran the streets like we paved them ourselves.
We littered the sidewalks and spray painted the walls.
We jumped the turnstile to the subway in the mornings, and we hitched a taxi at night.
Some of us would leave the neighborhood while others would choose to stay.
Some of us kids would unexpectedly die young, while some of us kids would choose to die.
We were reckless jerks, punks, shameless thieves, loiterers, failed romantics, and rejects with just a touch of arrogance.
We were sad, angry, and happy.
We laughed, we cried, we panicked.
We were just a bunch of stray cats trying to make the best of what we didn’t have.
But in the end, we always had each other.
Today, when I think about the sound of all that glass breaking as a youth, it’s what I had imagined sex would one day feel like.
And I was right.
It felt just like sex, maybe even better.