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Summer in the city/summer closure

I waited with three young men at the bus stop; I 'd say age sixteen. "Vous allez bien, madame?" one asked rhetorically, with an arch courtliness.

He offered me a hit from his vape. "Je fumais jamais", I told him. All three sets of eyes flickered the verdict: Madame was clearly a prude. "...sauf les joints", I added, and was rewarded with relaxed laughter: "Les joints, ben oui!"

In truth I was a only an occasional pot smoker, but it was a bridge to more conversation and I don't get to chat with many teens.

They told me they had just been released from the minimum security institution that is high school in June. I remembered the day the lockers were cleaned out,  tasks assigned when there was no more homework to review. Even those reporting to summer jobs the next day felt fizzy with excitement.

I didn't so much envy their youth—the time and possibility ahead—as the experience of that particular release.

Today I leave online life for …

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