When we were young

It's eerie how bad childhood memories can remain vivid in our minds years after they occur. In my case they are not really bad in the nefarious, "I tore both arms off all my sister's Barbies", type of memories. Mine tend to be more of a spectatorly nature. One event I remember all too clearly.

I couldn't have been older than five years of age the first time I remember being at CAJ, the school from where I would graduate twelve years down the road. My family had driven in for some event, and I decided to spend some time by myself, wandering the playground. It was a very large playground at the time, for I was small. There were two slides; one for people younger than I, and the other bigger one for the bigger kids. Both slides were painted blue with gold steps, made of metal, and very old. A mother was playing with her very young daughter (most likely 2 or 3), and decided to take her over to the slides. For some reason I was near the slides, and for some other unknown reason I volunteered to stand by the side of the slide in case the little girl fell. Out of kindness the mother accepted my "help" and took her daughter to the top of the slide and let her go. I was standing on the left side of the slide.

Before the girl had even made it half way down she lost her balance, teetered, tottered, and plunged over the side rail of the slide - the left rail. She plummeted a good six feet before landing face-down of the ground about a meter and a half in front of where I was standing. There was nothing I could do but be shocked and look confused.

How could I let this happen?

Her mother of course rushed over and picked up her bawling daughter. That image of the little girl, crying her eyes out, gravel and dirt ringing her open mouth, is a permanent snapshot in my head. The mother hustled off to care for her child, and I left to wander the playground.

Looking back now, I see, of course, that there was nothing at all I could do. Even my volunteering to look out for the child's safety was a useless and empty gesture. I was five; what could I possibly have done? Let her land on me?

Still, the event haunts me as a situation where I could have done something more. Maybe it serves as a motivation to get involved now. Maybe what I couldn't have done then, I can make up for now.

Who knows why we keep the memories we do?


A Nighttime Endeavor

I wake my friend from her restless sleep
I say to her, "Let's go on a walk, somewhere"

She smiles, and asks me, "Where to?"
And I reply to her, "Anywhere our feet lead us"

It's past midnight when we start our stroll
The whole world gone to bed by now

Out the door and down the walk
We turn left because we feel like it

Lazily along the sidewalk we go
In tandem on this cool summer night

The rain has lessened, but is still, there
The drops in the street lights fall slowly

Our hands find the other eventually
And mindless babble is not needed

When two lovers get as close as we
The sound of breath is more than enough

We come upon an intersection
One way flashes red, the other yellow

Apparently even in the deepest night
One way is still more important

We go straight for no real reason
We walk down the center line

'Fwip fwip' go our bare naked feet
The sound makes me smile and I turn to her

The moonlight gives a shining image
A face with no imperfections

The streetlight reflects her figure in the puddles
I kiss her on the fore head; she smiles

We find a bridge and stop for a bit
The water running like Chopin in our world

She turns to me and on her tip-toes
Gives me a playful peck on the lips

The time is only as romantic as we make it
The only pressures are we have are specious

We are free, she and I, to love and walk
As we see fit; as we see needed

We could stop, we could go
All the world is ours for now

Words are few as we complete our walk
The nighttime insects dance with us

For moonlight is a strange music
Dancing is only minutes away

We dance to the door, I stop and unlatch it
We slide in, soaked; our clothes are cast aside

We cuddle up, and drift asleep
Dreaming of the tides