He tossed out the blanket while she sorted through the picnic basket. They were late and had missed nearly all of the Sunset Symphony. Up on stage, James Hyter was belting out the final lyrics of ‘Ol Man River’.
“I don’t ask you to do to much do I?” He asked, fussing over a rough spot in the blanket to avoid looking at her.
She stopped what she was doing and looked up at him with a smirk. “You’ll have to give me more than that.”
“It’s just, I don’t know, I don’t want you to feel like I’m stuck to you. Like a movie theatre floor or a piece of gum you stepped on. You don’t have to say yes if you don’t want to hang out.”
She took his cheek gently in her hand, turning his face toward her. Her palm felt exquisitely cool on his skin.
“I like hanging out with you.” She leaned close to him. “I like you, silly boy.”
Over head, a firework screamed into the sky, exploding in a bulbous shower of purple sparks, the boom echoing for miles.
Down on Earth, they were too distracted by fireworks of their own to notice.
Sunset Symphony is the wrap-up event to the annual Memphis in May celebration that includes the Beale Street Music Festival and BBQ Festival. For most of my life, the event was closed by James Hyter singing the “Ol Man River’ and one of the best fireworks displays in the South. Sadly, Jame Hyter passed away in 2009.