A sundress and a quick swipe of the key, out the door in moments along with the children of the family. We always walked in a long line, each of them scuttling along behind me like little ducklings. The slides and swing sets littered around the park slightly burned due to the sun, his personal way of joining in on the fun. Bicycles and dogs and endless sporting events, a shack equipped with nachos and hot dogs, picnic tables and bumblebees; the kids were in heaven, much like myself. A scraped knee, followed by tears, followed by laughter later on in the day. My summer Sunday mornings were to be spent with a cup of coffee, overlooking the park as an intense game of t-ball took place.
The blooms which made their home along the lush greenery that lined the sidewalks and the outskirts of the park gave off an aroma of sweetness, I allowed it to seep it into my brain and leak out with my words and actions. Not a thing was wrong. My frail legs braced themselves for the ache that was to endure post-playground antics.
Suburban mothers who brought their children along, solely to wear them out and put them to bed after, ran quickly; their shiny ponytails bounced along as they whizzed past, their perfume odor causing our noses to turn up in comical disgust. Interjections filled the air as toddlers toppled down slides, their eyes closed with the fear that no one would be at the end to catch them. There was always someone there. Couples walked hand in hand, lovebirds inevitably twittering around their heads.
The sun smiled down on our newly tanned skin, beads of sweat acting as our own personal armor to the various insects buzzing through the air. Absentmindedly, my fingers tousle through the messy nests of hair that sit atop their little heads, pushing them off and out into the open, no fear in their heart. To a child, a playground is like a bubble to the outside world; a shield is present and nothing, not even a bee sting, could stifle their elation.
A labyrinth of decisions stand before me. Stroll, sit, sing. We are in a world of possibilities.
Showing a great distaste within the concept of idle hands, I decide to stroll through the array of early birds like myself, I bounce with each step; I feel as though I’m floating through the crowd. The gentle wind takes me into it’s frail grip, leading me down various pathways. I succumb to avoiding eye contact with passing strangers, a spec of a smile lying on my face as my neck cranes and I look downward toward my shoes. I wrap myself in a coat of shyness at the worst times.
The forest lingering in the distance beckons me, a quick thought passing through my mind that perhaps it feels loneliness like the rest of us. The isolation is eerie, yet tempting. A few drops leftover from early summer rain littered along the treetops fall onto my bare shoulders and I perceive it as a plea. The red faced children are left to explore on as I make my way toward the woods.
Old warnings from my father pop out of my brain; There are exchanges of reality for a hazy world made there, men patiently waiting for a sight of innocence. Morality floats to the heavens and I push on.
A gust of wind travels toward me, my dress a plethora of waves as goosebumps rise on my skin solely for a peek at my further actions. Jewels adorned on me jangle as I walk, the sound of children’s hysterics falling behind me and overtaken with pure silence and the aroma of wet leaves. The trees seem to multiply as I come closer, as they say, everything is scarier up close.
I allow the forest to pull me in it’s chilling embrace, slight rays of the sun penetrating the small spaces between branches.