Let your eyes pan the cluttered streets of this Midwest town. Feel the pulse of “I Kissed a Girl” played for the 103rd time this morning, take in the disheveled sorority sisters staggering down the streets. Smell the beer and hot chocolate surrounding you, take in the mumbling youth weaving in front of you and the eagle-eyed old man wheelchair-pinioned beside you. You are on the corner of Pine and Holden in Warrensburg Missouri, and Homecoming Parade is happening. The crisp air is kissing your cheeks and the sun warms your hair.
Midway through the columns of high school marching bands and Shriner motorbikes comes Amtrak like a wall. The parade stops. Hush descends. A boy near you pauses in a moment of frenetic activity, his fingers clutching the cheap black handle of his pumpkin-basket. You watch him, see the sun slant across his shoulders, and can almost feel his heart beating. It’s 10:14 in the morning and a little boy is waiting for the candy to start again.
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Warrensburg, Missouri / morning / On the corner of Pine and Holden