My Hometown

"Flight 1380, non stop to Newark, New Jersey"
I wake up just as we begin to descend over the brightly-lit grid that is North Jersey. Our older sister, Sarah waits outside our gate: we all squeal in unison. The Dolan girl trifecta. Mom and Dad drive us home in the van with minimal road rage slurs, despite the traffic. Mom finishes her second glass of wine and everyone goes to bed. I catch my second wind, fueled by deep seeded, high school rebellion, put on a bit of mascara and slip out the back door, shoes in hand to minimize the sound as I walk across the patio to the car. Our local dive bar is mostly dead, save the handful of frat boys and divorcees. Colt comes out from behind the bar to greet me and I snag a seat next to two Italian girls, who, of course, are cousins from the town over. "I learned a new song today," I say, after I finish my whiskey straight. "Oh yea, what song?" "Y'all ever see Clerks?" Everyone, including our bartender, instinctively start rapping Jay and Silent Bob's sidewalk rap, keeping beat by banging on the wooden bar. Oh, Jersey. The girls and I chain smoke menthols outside the Quick Check down the street after the bar closes. Half my high school class rolls up for a drunken Quick Check run. We yell and greet, kissing each other on the cheek. Everyone breathes laughter and liquor. "You miss it?" Colt wipes some morning dew off my car in the back parking lot when he finally gets off work. I look at the big half moon, the only celestial object visible thru the pollution. "Yea." The next morning, Ali and I get bagels and coffee at Bagels4U. We take a back road home, passing the Solberg airport and catch a two seater plane landing on the strip. "There are so many good things about home." I sink in to my seat, my hand out the window. "Yea, there are."