I pulled on the coat-tails of an old memory this morning. It was a bad time in the young life of me. There I was, skinny and scrawny in a white tee-shirt that hung off my frame as if my body was a wire hanger. I was sweating from my underarms, pale-skinned (I swear looked more like greenish than anything) with deep black rings beneath my eyes. I was wearing a beaten-up pair of blue jeans with my bet loop tied together with string because I was too skinny and too embarrassed to buy a smaller, almost children sized belt, and my pair of steel-tip boots were on the other side of an unfortunately locked door.
I remember wishing I had a pack of smokes in my pocket to make the image seem real. Oh, but it was real and couldn’t be more real than this . . .
There I was, me, with long hair and an unmistakably need to feel free —or at least, feel wild like my childhood was (or should I say, could have been).
I saw the dawn creep in to interrupt the night with traces of hopeful color, which I could only see through a slim line above a stretch of cracked-opened, frosted window that hung at ceiling height and tilted slightly outward on a steel hinge.
Everything around me was re-manufactured. The air was stale and the lights hummed in the corridor. Nothing was natural and everything was synthetic and dirty to me
I sat awake on an uncomfortable wooden bench, wondering, waiting to be processes, and worrying about what to do if I were challenged. I sat there and watched patches of clouds move through the only thin line that I could see through in the window. That line, perhaps, it was like a symbol to me.
I watched the morning clouds move in like small grey blankets about to weep with a slow morning drizzle.
Cold with body chills, shivering a little (in August?) I was locked behind bars and sitting in a holding cell for the very first time . . .
“This your first time I. the saddle, kid?”
“Don’t worry. You’ll get used to it”
“How come they took my shoes,” I asked.
“So you don’t string yourself up by the laces.”
Then came the antagonizing laughter of a straight-laced guard with hard-shoe heels that clacked against the tiled floor, but dig—
That sound when the door closed . . .
It’s a weird thing to be petrified and relieved at the same time.
I thought to myself, “Well, at least tomorrow will be different.”
Man, I was just a little kid but it was sure wild how to see how fast the playground changed
Little kids mess around in sandboxes and play- fight to battle one another for position (that’s where it starts)
Boys will be boys, so they say and girls will be girls too.
Little boys play tug of war and run around to conquer the world, which they will one day inherit (hopefully)
They will enjoy their little rumbles and go home with grass stains on their knees
Little girls play with dolls to prepare for a role they might fill one day. Or maybe they’ll play hopscotch, or perhaps they’ll toss jacks and dance between the springtime dandelions to blow on their feathers and make wishes in the wind.
The field surrounds them like their own little country . . . it’s like their own world without an outside influence.
I remember those playgrounds
We were young then.
Unscathed and innocent
It amazes me . . .
The truth of reflection—
The ability of introspection—
You were younger once.
I was younger too but still much older than you
Back then, you were small enough to be held with one arm and fit between my wrist and the inside of my elbow.
Your eyes had only been opened for a short while to new life.
Suddenly, I saw an explanation for living, which I never saw coming until the day you were born.
I could have been a murderer before then (figuratively speaking, of course) at least; I was certainly that way in my thoughts.
I guess that was before I had an understanding of what life is and what it means to create a place in this world.
. . . For you
I’ve been reading a lot about a man named Jean Piaget and his theories about the nature of human development.
But we do develop, don’t we?
I’m not sure why things happen the way they do. Each life comes with its own chronological order, I suppose. Each life has its own purpose, its own spirit, and its own free will.
Maybe it’s the mind’s eye that finally sees the big picture. Maybe it’s the lucky stroke of a clock and we learn before it’s too late and maybe we never learn, but same as the Earth pulls us to the ground with gravity; same as it spins, and same as one day becomes the next regardless to whether we agree or not. We still develop into something in one form or another