June 25, 2009

Three Miles, Minus 100 Yards

“C’mon Barry, you’re slow as an eight day clock.”

The air was hot and thick. My blood was concentrating in my gut, digesting the food I ate an hour ago. I felt that familiar slight tightness around my chest. My body betrays me. They slow down to my pace. I take a short cut back to the house and they walk on. Soon, we’ll be walking parallel, 100 yards apart.

I feel much better now that the ground is level. Walking past the high school where my wife was homecoming queen, I can hear the exuberant voices of teenage girls practicing field hockey on the football field. The field lights compete with the twilight, the horizon, hazy white-blue gradients to purple above with stars just visible. Even though it’s summer, I feel the fall inside myself, the generation of today almost three times removed from me. A slight sad wistfulness creeps over me. I walk past the elementary school and recall Tristan talking to me at this spot some time ago.

“When I get big, I’m going to this school.”
“When I get big, Mommy’s riding me on the bus to this school.”
“I’m the fastest and strongest."
He motioned a karate chop.
"Hai Yah!”

What fills little boy’s minds with competitiveness and make believe violence? I don’t recall being like that when I was a little boy.

I walk past a playground behind the school. There sits a mother reading a magazine at a picnic table, while her little girl whips through the muggy air on a swing.

I arrive at the house and I see them about 100 yards down the sidewalk. They smile at me. I assume they’re glad I didn’t drop dead somewhere along my path. It would be my favorite way to die….no…make that my second favorite way to die.

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