19 years old and going nowhere, I got a ride to Bessemer and walked the night road toward Birmingham passing dark groups of men cursing the end of a week like every week. Out of town I found a small grove of trees, high narrow pines, and I sat back against the trunk of one as the first rains began slowly. South, the lights of Bessemer glowed as though a new sun rose there, but it was midnight and another shift tooled the rolling mills. I must have slept awhile, for someone else was there beside me. I could see a cigarette's soft light, and once a hand grazed mine, man or woman's I never knew. Slowly I could feel the darkness fill my eyes and the dream that came was of a bright world where sunlight fell on the long even rows of houses and I looked down from great height at a burned world I believed I never had to enter. When the true sun rose I was stiff and wet, and there beside me was the small white proof that someone rolled and smoked and left me there unharmed, truly untouched. A hundred yards off I could hear cars on the highway. A life was calling to be lived, but how and why I had still to learn.