I'd parked the car at the end of Mimosa Drive, a short shush of a street that dead ended into a giant sweeping sea of kudzu. It was the only place right in the middle of town that was dark enough see those streams of light, shooting stars that streaked across your periphery but blinked out if you stared them full in their radiant faces.
We sat in front of a house that Jason Wilkins, Brad Aldridge and Chris Thompson had rented for the year, the last house in a line of tiny budget homes in the heart of the hospital and its hangers on of gynecologist and dentist offices.
I think CDave and Steve Berg were there with me. The night is a little fuzzy, dreamy and surreal and flooded with hazy images twinkling with sky glitter. It was hushed and sleepy, and we felt so special to have had the place all to ourselves. We shared it with no one while the rest of those sky gawkers drove out to Sardis Lake to be harassed by Park Rangers on a mission from God to kick out the teenagers.
I write this down, because that beautiful, special, magical place is gone. My stormy kudzu sea has been ripped out and the earth looks like the scalded skin of packed red clay. Jason's, Brad's, and Chris's house is gone now, uprooted and overturned to make way for an elite condominium subdivision called the Hamlets.
A real estate firm and development company has stolen my memory so they can sell me $473,000 of custom cabinets, eight-foot ceilings and contracted interior decorated space. Not that I can afford it, but some yuppy can. Some guy who never sipped crown and coke from a solo cup on the hood of a snaggle-toothed 1989 Pontiac Bonneville and felt like they owned the entire fucking world because they got to share those brief glorious moments when hunks of burning rock turned into shimmering angels before they blinked out of existence.
I keep telling myself that the memory is still mine. Pragmatic, practical, life moves on. They took the setting: the house, the sloping hills of kudzu, the empty blissful quiet, but they can never take the memory away.
But they can. The memory is already faded a little, and I used to drive to that house every couple of years and sit in the dusk to burn the images into my head again. But now even the setting is gone, and all I can cling to is this hazy memory that I clutch like beloved but sad and crusty teddy bear.
And within the quickest of moments, I feel the passage of time, death creeping as each memory blinks out of existence. The brightest of shooting stars, when our hungry eyes turn to focus, is replaced by the emptiness of space.