Place Where You Live:

Fayetteville, Georgia

During the day, the golf course belonged to the paying golfers, but at night it was ours, the denizens of Whitewater Creek Country Club. Well, if you weren’t caught by the patrol and fined.

In our community, grass was clipped and tamed, woods held back by white picket fences, and children were seen but not heard. Appearances must be kept.

In darkness we, the gated progeny of privilege, secretly roamed the course, our speeding carts vying for the fastest or highest. It was the sound of freedom at twenty-three mph. In high school, the joy of acceleration paled next to the way the mist swallowed you like a bullfrog eating a fly.

At night mist climbed the manufactured hills, smoothing them into leaf-pads in a white, moist world. Sweat that had condensed between shoulder blades and breasts cooled.

It was a world where invisible laughter came and went as others drank or smoked hidden in the darkness. More was hinted at in bus stop gossip or lunchroom buzz, where reputations were made or ruined by what you did, like that time Candice got drunk or the night Josh hit a tree and broke his pinky.

It was junior year before I summoned the nerve to invite Matt, breaking two rules by trespassing on the course and inviting a guest. When he brushed my hand, I jerked the wheel, skidding on two wheels through prized grass toward a drainage pond. It settled before we crashed and we drove on. When the highest hill came, its lurch paled next to the quaking pressure of his hand. Suddenly I wanted his stomach to drop.

We sat in a misty valley charged with dark electricity. We leaned as if pulled, breath hitching in our chests, nerves so loud only we existed, half a second from a new world.

The distant plop of a bullfrog jolted us and the moment was lost. We laughed nervously and looked away. I started the cart again.