IN A BLURA flurry of activity; it is perpetual motion in action. It's early for a Saturday. Most of the time, they sleep in. But, I'm already getting a work out. I should have stretched... limbered up. I probably wouldn't creak so much if I were prepared better. Or at least lubricated from time to time.Hey, there's Virginia with her daughter, Emily. They're nice - gentle people. And that Emily? Light as a feather, she respects my power, as does her mother. Virginia propels Emily ever so softly, there is a loving caress in her hands as she catches her daughter and redirects her forward. And listen to her! Emily's laughter is like the much-needed oil for my heavy chains. She squeals; she giggles. She cries out, "Faster Mommy. Higher Mommy". But Virginia stays the pace; slow, gentle, caressing.Oh, not you! Chucky Tanner has got to be the worst. Well, no, I'm being a bit unfair. I know he's a good kid at heart. Why, the other day, no one was around to play. Emily and her mother were sharing their usual moments swinging when Chucky came by. Virginia said hello, as did Emily. Nervously, the freckle faced boy glanced around, and where he was sure no one saw him, he approached the two."Do you think I could push for a while?" Chucky offered.Virginia did not hesitate. "That would be fine if you wouldn't mind!And Tanner stepped behind the little girl to offer tender nudges forward. Emily continued to giggle. Chucky was laughing. Virginia smiled. He wasn't the incorrigible demon at all.But he seems to leave his heart at home when his entourage is around. With friends like them... They prodded each other. Dares to do this, attempt that. Hardly playful, these boys were in need of a different kind of attention than they come to seek on this playground. Hurtful in a somewhat devious way, I wish Tanner had a backbone to stand up for himself.This Gordon kid... they call him "Big 'G'"... he's one of Tanner's antagonists. A bully in every sense, he would shoo the little kids away from me claiming me for his own. He never sat and rode. 'G' would stand on my seat and jostle me. He would twirl around until my chain became chinked and knotted. Once, he pushed the empty seat so hard that it went over the bar and wound the chain around, rendering me unusable. The maintenance man had a few choice words when he came along with his ladder.But the one that really gets to me is Jennifer.She's ten. A frail girl with a sad eyes, and a smile just waiting for a reason to come out. But it never does. She comes and sits on the third seat from the end. Clutching the chains with a tight grip, afraid to let go. Jennifer never swings. She just sits with her vacant stare. Her feet never leave the ground. It's as if she had found protection between my bars; a sanctuary. Not wanting to venture beyond their protection. Her uncle sits at a distance and watches Jennifer. She never looks in his direction. Her eyes divert whenever he comes into view. He tight grip becomes even tighter. It pains me that this little one should be so sad... so scared... so tortured... No amount of swinging would elicit an Emily-like laugh. I worry about her.I feel the sun rising higher in the sky. The warmth stirs more activity. More kids come for a ride, a laugh. Some come for sanctuary. It's hard to keep up. Everything becomes a blur.
Love the P.O.V., you chose, Walt, written so well and bringing awareness to the varying circumstances of children's lives. Very good. :)
Very clever point of view, Walt. I enjoyed this a lot!
Maybe I should have called a taxi like Bob suggested, but I'm usually fine after just two drinks; although this time they were Long Island iced teas... in long ass glasses. I didn't have time to wait anyway. The wife is waiting at home with her panties all tied up in a knot. She keeps on calling to remind me to hurry up. The last conversation was the kicker. I had stormed out of the bar like a Pamplona bull."Let me call you a taxi," Bill had shouted."I can handle this," I'd said. "I could drive you home John.""That's too far out of the way. You have a gig in half an hour. I'll be fine."But now everything is a blur. Am I driving through a flooded street? No, this is a playground. I see a kid swinging, another one jumping rope. My head feels like a bowling ball. I pull over and rest it on the passenger seat. Ring, ring. I know it's Maybell calling to nag me about the same thing. All turns black.
Wow, wake-up call, this is excellent, Laurie!
oh, my...I hope he pulled over and STOPPED before it all went black...
Laurie, your flow works. I like this very much.
Life's a BlurWhen we moved to this neighborhood I was so excited our building would be near the park. The day we moved in we could hear the children’s shouts and laughter. We could hear the familiar squeak of swings. Balls bouncing on concrete. The rumbly whir of the merry-go-round. Those sounds brought a smile to my face…and impatience to our little Joey! He wanted to play and didn’t want to wait for our movers to finish. At near dusk, when almost all the children had already gone home for supper, Joey finally convinced me to let him give the playground a try.He climbed the monkey bars, slid down the slide, swung high to the sky, and, though I was exhausted, he even talked me into giving him a push on the merry-go-round. As I watched the blur of him spinning round-and-round, I would never have guessed our lives were about to spin out of control.That was less than two years ago. And now, from the apartment window, I hear the children’s shouts and laughter. The familiar squeak of the swings. I can see the scene clearly, even though tears have blurred my vision. Joey would have been seven today.
Paula, this is perfect in the telling without telling. Really emotively written, enjoyed this. :)
Thanks, Hannah! I appreciate the encouragement.
~FOSTERING HOPE~The soggy air of summer was dense with promise. The kind of feeling that hangs on the scent of hot dog stands, held in the passing sound of music reverberating from passing cars. It was made buoyant by the sweet scent of wild rose, breathing, delicate and delectable. “What’re we doing today?” Charli asked, as she toed the dirt beneath her, swinging slightly. “We could sell some lemonade,” exclaimed Addie, her green eyes sparkled with excitement. Stooping low, she picked and spun the stem of a buttercup between her fingers.“My house or yours, “ponders Charli, the pull of the swing, wind and gravity sending her long, straight, blonde hair, gracefully, to and fro. “Mine,” Addie answered quickly, holding the yellow blossom beneath her chin. “So, do I?” She asked peering skyward. “You do, you like butter, Ads,” answered Charli softly, the two had long played this childhood game. The answer to the quandary, whether one enjoyed butter held in this simple flower. If it reflected a golden hue beneath one’s chin than you’re a lover of butter.Rousing themselves, they ambled toward the sidewalk. Straggling grass had found space to thrive, pushing forth from cracks in the pavement. Busy ants carried, amazingly, grains (immense boulders to them), of sand, rebuilding tunnels disturbed by foot traffic.The two picked up their pace, soon to match the business, buzz of late summer, embodied by the electric undertone of the cicada. They both knew what they would find had they chosen Charli’s house, it went without saying, and her house was never an option. Addie was Charlie’s balance, her saving grace as she navigated some semblance of a summer vacation. She reached out to her normalcy to dilute the toxicity, a life steeped in the aroma of gin and tonics. “Your Birthday is next week, huh?” Addie offered, knowing the answer, sensing Charli’s tension and sadness. “Big, thirteen! What do you want, hmmm…?” “Ads, you know what I would like this year?” A single tear, symbol of possibility, slipped silently, fast past a sea of freckles, floating in creamy sea; not unnoticed by her dear, caring friend. “I do,” returned Addie, quietly placing her arm over Charli’s shoulder. A bit of the pain melted and they moved forward. Both knowing, saying without saying, acknowledging without voicing, dissolving the disturbing power held in Charli’s secret. And they moved forward together, fostering hope. © Hannah Gosselin and Metaphors and Smiles, 2012.
I made some edits and some format changes with spacing etc., it may be easier to read on my blog. Just sayin'. :)
Loved this story of childhood companionship. Thank goodness for the Addies of this world.
Thank you, Paula! Yes, grateful for them. :)
If I could remember it clearly, I would. Then the wisps of what lingers would make more sense. There would be no dangling modifying bits of nouns or wafts of my mother’s perfume mingled with the sharp cutting criticisms of Aunt Grace’s annoyance at the stench of my Uncle Fred’s cheap cigar. I would have a reason for remembering a blue beaded earring resting in the palm of my hand. The jumble of what I can and can’t put together will never find their puzzling borders – even if I can recall your laughter echoing, the lingering taste of cherry Jello, and the silverware drawer foolishly letting the forks spill over onto the teaspoons. I can sit in the quiet of a summer morning with a winter cup of Earl Gray tea letting you savor the sleep I can’t seem to find. The sun can slant low in the sky trying to warm me while I look to the corners of the window, past spiders, past fingerprint streaks, trying to find a trail I can backtrack on to connect a scrap of torn black net stockings to the feeling of my tongue on my left back molar. There would be squirrels, a cake, some opened envelopes still stuffed with proof that I paid the electricity bill for the month of February, 2003. So I wait. The sun will warm me, or the tea will calm me, or you tap on my shoulder allowing me to turn my head back to where it all makes sense. I’ll unwrap a caramel and let it linger. My eyes will close just enough to let the light not blind me. I’ll set my cup on the table and roll my ring around again on my finger, the years rolling by with each golden turn.
Wow...a short piece packed with so many details! But not so many as to overwhelm...but enough to give a clear sense of the details that can be dropped from memory...and the feeling that comes from it.