Douglas Light

"This dude is the real deal." —Junot Diaz

Kids on a Harlem roof

Headed up to watch the sun collapse over Jersey and found three kids jetting, jumping, and wrestling about on the roof. All between 9 and 12 years old. Five stories up.

Seeing M and I, they made their escape--from what, I can't say. Us, I guess. Adults. Laughing, they ran along the roof's edge and hoisted themselves over the wall to the roof next door. And then again to the next building and next.  They scampered from roof to roof, making the length of the block and then disappeared.

"I thought one of them was going to fall," M said.

"Yeah, I wanted to yell at them, 'Be careful!'" I said.

"Why didn't you?"

"They wouldn't have listened," I said, realizing some four decades later just how right my father's warnings had been. And just how often I ignored them.