Ever since she can remember, wealthy but weary Saige Armstrong has felt
different from her peers in Pechimu, New Jersey. With only one good friend to
her name, she has navigated the complicated halls of high school and is now
faced with the timeless question: Now what?
Fox Harrington, a fun-loving, socially charismatic graffiti artist uses his
passions to color his world exactly how he wants it. He knows exactly where his
life is headed. That is, until he meets Saige.
A summer project links the two together, making a tentative friendship bloom
into romance, but despite their affection for each other, fundamental beliefs
and ways of thinking threaten to destroy all they have built.
In this tender story of young love, N.K. Smith delivers a striking tale of two
people standing on the precipice of adult life.
“We’re not going to get caught. I’m a ninja.”
She’s not impressed by this. “But I’m not.”
“You could be,” I say as I take the spray cans from her and start to walk toward the bridge. It’s dark but not pitch black. The moon is high and shines down on us, giving her a striking glow that’s hard to ignore. To be honest, this bridge is a little more traveled than some of the bridges I tag and the top has fencing to keep graffitists like me from defacing it, but I’ve scouted it out and know there’s a hole in the fence about three-quarters of the way down, so that’s where I’ll start.
When we get there, she bounces from foot to foot and turns her head left and right constantly as I paint. I feel better about tagging this one while I have a lookout.
“Stop freaking out. Just don’t think about being caught. Let’s just leave something lasting on this bridge, make our mark, and we’ll get out of here.”
“I can’t believe you think this is fun.”
“It is fun,” I say as I lift one foot off the bridge in order to reach a spot toward the bottom of my design. It’s different tonight. The fox is the same, but I’ve added little something else to mark it as the joint effort of Saige and me.
“Shit, there’s a car!”
I chuckle as I hear the near panic in her voice, but when I hear the car pass, I reach my hand back. “Green, please.”
She takes one can out of my hand and replaces it with the requested color. “Hurry up. I’m totally going to punch you in the gut if I get into trouble for this.”
In less than a minute, I’m finished and facing her. “There’s nothing wrong with a little trouble, Saigaweena. Lets you know you’re alive.”
“It made you smile, so yeah, Saigaweena.”
I look both ways and cross the street. I want to take her hand and pull her along with me, but I leave her to make her own decision. She follows, which excites me not only because she’s carrying half my paint, but because every time I’m near her, I get a little thrill. It’s like riding a roller coaster for the first time and the cart has just reached the summit of the first hill, and you look down and think what did I get myself into?
There’s no hole in the fencing on this side, so I take out my cutting pliers and use as much force as I can to snap the metal.
“Holy shit, Fox. Tagging’s one thing, now you’re destroying the—”
I stop what I’m doing and put my hands on her shoulders. “Ninjas don’t talk so much. It’s quiet time. Let me work, and you can nag me about it later, okay?”
She narrows her eyes. “I’m not nagging. I’m protesting.”
“This is destruction of property!”
“What you call destruction of property, I call beautifying the urban American landscape.”
“It’s graffiti,” she says, her voice nothing more than a hiss.
“I prefer urban art, thank you very much.”
Based in the American Midwest, N.K. Smith is a Technical Writer for a Fortune 100 company. The author of the Old Wounds Series, Ghosts of Our Pasts, and My Only, she is a mother of two who finds the time to write very early in the morning when the rest of the world is still fast asleep.
An avid lover of history, art, music, books, and people, she is interested in telling stories that speak to the human condition.