Me and Mert, putting an end to our formal education, walking out of the high-school assembly and ripping up the soccer field on our Harleys, while inside the auditorium 500 students rose to their feet to sing No Man Is an Island.

Mert and I never talked much. We worked the factories by day and at night set pins in the local bowling alley, working two lanes each. After setting pins we went out into the night and rode our bikes on the Connecticut backroads, sometimes until sunrise.

“See ya round,” Mert said when I sold my Harley and moved to the Philippines.

“Right,” I said. “See ya round.”

Easily let go of, the best kind of connection. That other business, where people glue their faces together and hop around on one foot drooling all over each other, that’s an assault on the splendor of solitude.

I never saw Mert again.

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