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School got out and our backpacks were thrown on the Ponzios’ lawn once we jumped off the elementary school bus. Bikes were brought out and plywood was laid on the massive, one-foot dirt mound that they were using to make a backyard garden. We took turns circling the horseshoe street and flying over those boards for half a second of air. Voices yelled with “watch this”-s and “did you see that”-s as the middle school bus grew larger at the end of the street and we raced to get to the stop before anyone could get off. It was the first day of school, and it was time to see our friends we had played with just over the weekend. We crowded the door, making it near impossible for anyone to get out. The driver yelled at us and we listened—still believing that adults knew best. It took 10 minutes for everyone to get out of that yellow can because there were so many students sitting three-to-a-seat. The ones at the back of the bus, our friends, pooled out, saying words we had never heard before: “shit”-s and “fuck”-s. The grating door closed, and the yellow bus crept away. Our friends continued laughing and cursing, walking away to the neighborhood skatepark without a word to any of us, having no time for our childish bike hill. They were “growed-up” they told us the next day, and that we were embarrassing them the day after that. We continued riding over that little dirt mound all year—silently wondering who would grow up and leave next.
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