“Boomerang” by Summer Wood
Winner of the 2013 Fiction Prize
Dusk seeps into the back yard, collecting in the twinned canopy of the sugar maple and the cherry, pooling in the grass beneath the trees, staining the side of the two-story garage we’d dubbed the Fort, slowly, gradually, almost imperceptibly bedding the wild rhubarb below in its inky darkness. The sky is still too bright for the stars to emerge. Easton and I, both ten, stand at opposite ends of the mowed expanse and thread a Frisbee through the space between us. It sails out, solid and vivid as the moon, from his right hand to my left. Beneath it my dog Spot bounds happily, her eager bark and hoarse breath the only sounds apart from our occasional laughter or, beyond, the slam of a door or distant passing of a car. And then—this is how I remember it, though it’s been more than twenty years—darkness storms the yard in earnest and it grows too dim to see and I am the one who finally fumbles the catch, and when Spot retrieves it, grips it in her teeth, I slip to the grass to wrestle it from her. I lie back. Fireflies are brightening. In time the dark deepens enough for the first stars to show, and I shift to an elbow and push myself up.
Spot sits beside me, patiently waiting. I am her boy.
Her other boy is Easton, but he has gone home.