When First I Knocked

When First I Knocked

There is—or used to be—a high unprotected railroad trestle on the outskirts of Ann Arbor. Narrow, constructed of massive beams, it was straight out of a cinematographer’s imagination, just the sort of place that a romantically suicidal undergraduate would think to go, although I don’t know whether anyone ever did successfully—or even unsuccessfully—jump from there.

I no longer remember the string of events that got me and my friend Whitney up there, but one very early morning in the spring of 1970, still somewhat high from the mescaline we had dropped the night before, we were balancing our way across, daring each other on, trying not to focus too comprehendingly on the Huron River moving in shadow far below us. Whitney would shuffle a few feet ahead, I would follow. From time to time we would gaze at each other with the mocking hilarity of the insane.

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Lima