It’s almost ten when Alfred calls me.
“Are you ready?” he asks.
I am already on my bike, and I lift my feet off the pedals as I roll downhill. The wind is in my hair. It bashes my cheeks red. “You don’t even know,” I reply, the mobile squeezed tight between my chin and my ear. I bite my tongue and grab the handlebars tight as I turn the corner at the of the street. I can see him in the distance. The sun is setting and the warm glow of summer lights up Alfred’s frame as he stands up on the roof of the school, waving at me.
“Are you ready?” he repeats. It sounds like a challenge.
I start to pedal and I go as quickly as I can. I can hear him laugh on the other end, and it makes me laugh. My bag jumps up and down on my back every time I cross a speed bump. I can hear the bottle of vodka tip over inside. Tonight is going to be glorious.
Mrs Henderson warned us. She said, “I know what you guys do at night,” and she said it in front of class which obviously caused everyone to laugh and Alfred to turn red. The gay jokes were never-ending.
But I don’t think she truly knew what we were doing. If she did, I think she would’ve joined us. Because as I throw my bike up against the fence and climb it, it’s not the thrill of danger that gets my pulse going. I am not excited to break in, not even as I scale the vine on the back of the bike shed, jump to the fire escape ladder and reach for the rooftop. What gets me freaking fucking excited is this:
Him and I, on the roof, his mobile plays songs of yesterday, we share the bottle of vodka, and we read the poetry of people whose names we can no longer pronounce. And as the sun goes down, as the sky turns black, as the stars shimmer, I feel happy. I feel at home.