I knew in those summer months when my heart was no longer mine and every day was given to thoughts of Cracker. He had come for food again round dinnertime, and I had squirreled away some chicken and one slice of boysenberry pie. Cracks was one of those kids not tied to parents though he had four at that point – both parents remarried. No one ever calling him home. And Cracker fell through every crack. He declared love by the side of my house that night in late June as he put the food into his old dirty knapsack that he was never without. My father called my name from the front door – that it was getting late. Then Cracker asked me if I felt the same, and leaned toward me with my first kiss I remember to this day. It lasted until a second warning from my father – a good two minutes. I couldn’t say the words. Instead, I said, “I gotta go.” We walked to the front of my house where my father said, “Good night, Howard.” And every day around 7pm, I’m twelve and speechless just like when word came that the car didn’t swerve fast enough, and Cracker never made it home.