Under the highway bridge, the place of escape in my youth, there was a dreary but almost lively beauty. Empty packs of cigarettes smoked by teenagers whose eyes no doubt had flit about looking for adults were strewn about everywhere. Graffiti in many forms adorned the concrete columns and steel rafters. There were crossed out denunciations of ethnic groups, followed by denunciations of said denunciators. Spray paint bottles covered in rust and dust found their abode on piles of broken concrete. From one of the steel rafters hung a rope. We were always perplexed by the rope. How had someone climbed all the way across the rafter somehow, just to tie it there? The rope was cut and frayed at its ends; we always wondered if someone had hung himself there.
Near the top of one of the steel columns, which were about 30 feet high, was something clumsily spray-painted that said "If Mom saw me now!" A large road sign from the highway above served as a sort of sled which we would use to careen down the rather high slope with only a pile of jagged concrete to break our fall. About half the time we were there, we were on the look-out for cops, who frequently would watch the goings on from a place it was difficult for us to spot them.
When we would approach the bridge to hang out, we would often see teenagers scurry off into the nearby woods, and we would call "Wait, we're cool, we're cool, no worries." or something similar. Sometimes they would heed us and we would enjoy a cigarette or two with them and make conversation, and other times they would just run off. At other times we would pick up stones and hit them with sticks, seeing if we could reach the rafters. Sometimes we would just paint everything from geometric patterns to depictions of homosexual intercourse on the walls. It was a fun bridge to be under.