I'd forgotten the heat of a summer's day in Boston. The sun's strong and the air's thick. A little soupy, if you will. I'm not really built for humidity, to be honest. I'm not built for speed or distance for that matter, yet I still insist on running half-marathons. So there you go. Anyway, it's a hot, humid June day in Boston. Every hour or so the clouds build up; dark, full, towering clouds that block the sun but not the heat. They threaten and if it's quiet I can feel a growl of thunder that may only be in my head. Everything seems to go quieter, muffled. Shorts, a t-shirt and flip-flops seem like overdressing and not for the first time I ponder wandering down to the Charles and just jumping in. I hear it's a lot cleaner than back in the day (apologies to The Standells). The beer tastes amazing and I've probably eaten more than I need to. Another look out the window and the clouds have released the sun again, retreating to the distance and looking for all the world like mountains.
I'm here for my sister's birthday. The party was last night and the beer flowed, the paper plates buckled under pulled pork, chicken and the trimmings and I bumped into folks I'd not seen in a quarter century. My three siblings and I were under the same roof for the first time in 5 years and it was good. I hold my breath at these things, conditioned to expect disaster, the one-too-many rant, the fractious calamity of exposition and tears. I guess I'm a touch of a pessimist. Disaster never came. There were hugs and laughs and dire attempts at compressing five years of life into the confines of a party conversation. The general idea is passed along but it's vague; abstract. If you're lucky, it gets close to impressionism. The room filled with happy party noises and an all-70's soundtrack. Jetlag combined with age (I'm a year older too, as of a week or so ago) led to good behaviour on my part. That said, it was still a slow start this morning.
Boston is a cocktail of eating, walking, drinking and remembering. I munch lobster rolls and oysters, slurping clam chowder, Harpoon IPA and Sam Adams. I trip along the uneven sidewalks in a daze, the oft-beaten streets of my younger days showing the passage of time or obscuring it, convincing me that nothing's changed. I sometimes wander past one of my old playgrounds, feeling that stabbing pang of lost youth. I breathe deep and cherish it.