Trajan took up his brother’s preoccupation with traveling anyplace he went by foot—by skateboard, in actuality. His father gave him a portable music player for Christmas that year. He would drop his board outside his mother’s front door, slip the headphones over his ears, pump his foot, and disappear from existence. He had no influence on the space outside his headphones. The clack of his skate-board against measured breaks in the sidewalk registered no sound. The wind angling around his ears went by breathless as he made his way in the darkness. On a night when his head was clear, Trajan let the music play cover to cover, one song after another. On a stormy night, thoughts of his brother crowding his mind, he skipped between tracks, unable to maintain a single line of focus.
He spent the majority of his time on the roll. He had no bedtime, no curfew, no one checking to see whether or not he had gotten home. His mother only asked that he stay on top of his schoolwork, something done with relative ease. Older brothers set the bar for younger brothers. Trajan only need do marginally better than his brother to earn favor with the same teachers who had found Langston thoroughly infuriating; Langston had always seemed up to the task, yet lacked focus to make the grade beyond the bare minimum required of him. Trajan was teacher’s pet by comparison.
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