May 8, 2002


My elementary school playground was divided into two sections: the white top and black top. The school itself was L-shaped, with the white top occupying the crux of the L. This would be easier if I drew it.

my elementary school schoolyard

The school had five grades, but only the older kids, fifth graders mostly, ever ventured onto the black top.

One day during third-grade recess, I followed the fence to the end of the blacktop, to the corner farthest from the school. This may have been the bravest thing I’ve ever done. Rumor had it that certain kids, possessed of a badness beyond comprehension, would slide under the fence in this corner and run to the 7-11. And it may be have been true, for I saw sufficient space to slide under. Not that I would have tried it. Instead I simply stood there watching tiny tornados of trash rise off the ground as I wondered how I was going to make it back to my school, which was now a giant L-shaped ship receding into the distance.