Release Point

Published in The Gettysburg Review, Winter 2019.

I’m sitting on the cement stoop outside the dilapidated Cape where I grew up, not because it’s where I sat on that particular Saturday, but because most of the memories I have growing up involve waiting, and I’ve come to imagine that all this waiting must have been done here, outside, in the silence.

I’m eleven, clutching a baseball glove, wearing cleats not because I need to but because they help the day feel special. I’ve been looking downhill for signs of my mom’s boyfriend but I’m also relieved by the stillness. It’s different from the tense stillness of the street on school mornings, or the perplexed stillness of the church pew on Sundays, or the dead stillness at night when I realize, yet again, that I won’t doze off till the shade becomes translucent with morning …