Staying home

We talked about driving up the hill behind our house, watching from the Catholic church that overlooks town.

But after he spent all afternoon sweating in the attic, and as we were both tired from a long family-reunion weekend in the middle-of-nowhere Pennsylvania, we decided to go to bed early instead.

And so we watched the fireworks exploding over the tops of trees from our living room, curled on the couch in pajamas while the cool evening breeze pushed against the curtain.

Next door, our neighbors dragged lawn chairs to the front of their house, chatting and smoking just feet away. He coughed once, then again, and the smoke drifted our way. Someone was flying above us, circling around town; a front row seat, I guess.

I lay my head against the back of the couch, watching a haze of brown smoke hang in front of the lights. We couldn’t see the lower ones, but anything that shot up high before bursting, we could see just fine.

I fell asleep minutes after the finale, barely awake enough to stumble back to bed, while the distant roar of people cheering floated through town, up my open window.

And from here and there, up the street and down it, others set off small fireworks, breaking into my dreams.

At that old church on the hill, the one with a cemetery spread out below her like a skirt, the bells tolled the hour.




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