Mornings, while Nik was gone, Josh wandered the city. He walked to the harbor and watched ferries and cruise ships come and go, felt the briny humidity curl his hair and gloss his skin. He stumbled into Little Italy and walked the uneven cobbled streets, his mouth watering from coffee and garlic, the pizza and sweet pastry; one morning, he allowed himself to spend two bucks for a cannoli, the sweet ricotta smearing his fingers as he crunched down on the crisp shell. He spent little time on Newbury Street, with its open air restaurants and boutiques, the women in their spiky Manolo Blahniks and the men in silky Armani; in his jeans, slick from dirt and grime, he did not belong there. Afternoons, when he returned to the room, Nikko would be laying face down on the bed, arms and legs spread-eagled, deep asleep. Josh would sit on the hard chair, warmed by the wan streaky sun, and watch Nik sleep, heard him moan and sometimes thrash in the sheets.
Josh worried where Nik went at night, and every night before he dropped to sleep, Josh vowed to follow his friend. But when the door clicked open, the rectangle of light thrown on the bed, Josh found himself too tired and too scared to slip on his shoes and jacket and follow his friend into the dark.
After Nik woke from his afternoon nap and showered, they took their backpacks and the guitar and headed to Harvard Square. They never set up in the main part of the square, but on a side street, in front of Herrell’s ice cream or on a street shooting off towards Central Square. The cops had run them off the first night because they didn’t have a license.
The first few nights they made about thirty dollars, bills and change dropped in Josh’s open guitar case. Singing on the sidewalk, Nik’s pure voice thrown against his in harmony, the heft of the guitar in his hands, hearing the cling of quarters and the sound of applause, Josh realized he was happy. All the grit, the weariness and loneliness, the lean edge of hunger gnawing at his stomach, all the worry that thrummed under his ribcage while Nikko was gone, it all seemed worth it.
The tenth installment of The Runaway. To read the rest, go ==> HERE. As always, I appreciate you taking the time to read my words. Peace...