His friend Roger was taking care of a professor's house, a bi-level suburban fortress with a back yard pool and a cantankerous outdoor fridge packed with beer. He and Troy helped Roger clean the pool, treat the water and skim off the floating elm seeds before diving in and cooling off. Come nightfall, they'd retire to the lawn chairs, and savor their mutual loneliness while listening to the buzz of dying cicadas compete with the rumble of neighboring air-conditioners.
One afternoon, he pedaled his bicycle into the back yard and found Roger standing naked in the middle of the pool, his tall gaunt figure taut with concentration, long wiry arms stretched out in simulated flight. Roger said nothing in greeting, so he asked Roger what he was doing. Roger was silent a while, then he murmured, “I'm trying not to slip into the abyss.”