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Fourth of July had come again – Kenny’s favorite holiday. We all gathered on the sloping driveway for fireworks, finding the familiar spot where the cement was level enough.
I imagined I could see the black marks left from last year’s snakes and the powdery residue from the multi-colored fountains. Kenny had spent hours planning that display. Mom’s voice broke through my thoughts.
“Before we light the fireworks I have some news to share. The public defender called to say Kenny is coming home next week. He’s done; time served.”
I heard none of her words after that. The relief began in my chest and moved down to my stomach as nine months of clenching let go. I looked up and saw a streak of silver light shooting into the air, taking my grief with it, transforming it, and sending it to the ground in a shower of gold.
As a whistler shot through the silence, I started to laugh. This news meant he was safe and would get another chance. He would be free. Our little show seemed to last for hours, bringing the best message of freedom I had known in my fifteen years.
Mom lit the last of the Roman candles and repeaters. The bursts of light came to end, and in the dark, quiet aftermath I found myself hoping Kenny would be strong enough to hang on to his freedom, smart enough to stay out of trouble.
“We still have sparklers,” Mom reminded us. I lit mine and wrote the word PLEASE in the sky.
Lacie Myers July 15, 2011