The hippies next door are making costumes. Spray painting fairy wings silver in the yard, and I imagine what it must look like from above. If I had a drone.

Later that night, the one guy who lives there is wearing a hat that looks like a lampshade even before he twists some switch and activates the LEDs inside, making it a glowing tie-dyed mushroom. One of the girls is next, to parade her surreal creation around. A sort of derby monstrosity, with what looks like from here to be fish bowls glued to the top.

She is stepping inside the house, cursing the tiny dog which has come to rest, naturally, right in the door jam while she tries to negotiate the correct angle for bringing this giant saucer shaped hat inside.

The clouds in the Midwest in the summer are astounding. Storm clouds. Like the storm clouds in me. I tell my daughter to be here, be now, to have fun and be excited. I am giving this speech in response to her defiance, while I know that the defiance is just her modeling things she sees in the two adults in the room, and it makes me wish things were easier. That I had been nicer that one time, that we had more time to be alone, just the two of us. But that’s kids. They wreck you even as you pour your love into them.

I have been to parties like the hippies are going to, but always I felt alone, like I was never around my people, like I had to prove my value somehow, my reason to be there.

The clouds don’t need a reason, I think. And far off there is the sound of slow and rolling thunder, or fireworks, or war.