It was the summer before life started. Or, at least, that’s what I thought then, when I was so young that I thought life begins at a particularly well-timed intersection of choices and dreams. I was lying with my stomach flat on the pavement of an empty parking lot. The ground was still warm in spite of the fact that it hadn’t seen the sun for hours. Outside the parking lot, trees and hills climbed up the sky, towards the moon and the stars. I didn't believe in heaven. I believed in fairytales. After I left that parking lot and that small town, every story I would ever write would carry the hard heat of that pavement in their words. I never could make magic or even wishes come true.
For some years, everything I would ever try to love, I would love in stubborn opposition to that place that I had climbed up and out from, like those trees that had climbed up to touch the stars. But the truth is that everything I’ve ever loved, I was already in love with that night on the hot pavement. I had already fallen for hard things, rough patches, tough choices, and the way the air feels after a summer storm breaks.