by Michael Rourke
Long before the coming of age came an irrational yearning for America and its blatantly false promises. In the face of tender parental resistance, I begged that they nurture this desire. Scotland seemed irrelevant—its tolerance so far from ripening in a complete absence of warmth.
A teaching post at a children’s summer camp on the blue, wide, silky waters of the Chesapeake Bay beckoned. Freedom and self-discovery was immediately embraced. The journey from boy to man drew me to him—his handsome smile and deep, brown Tennessee eyes. He lifted my heart. I felt the thrill. I ignored the sickening reality that it could end.
Flimsy, fluttering airmail letters addressed to my mother now addressed my father too. The boy’s name was Will, I told them. His strength fuelled my confidence. I craved what he would be.
Weeks passed and I feared the worst. My departure date approaching, I requested that their credit reserve a hotel room in the city—a humiliating dependency given their lack of acknowledgement. They confirmed.
Now roaring, soaring buildings rose like cliffs above a deep mist. We marvelled at the fantastic enormity of it, feeling insignificant but bursting with electric dreams. Kissing in doorways, windswept laughter, hoods pulled over smiling rain-covered faces. We saw our city from all four sides.
“Mr. Henderson sent credit card details”, she said. I recognised my father’s handwriting: “My son’s first visit to the city. Room on a high floor please. Possible additional guest—welcome him”.