There was a time in my life when I was content with the gift of chips and a coke. A time when my father would give me a little bag of dehydrated salted shrimp and I felt content. Those days stuck in traffic on the 5 staring at the painted cats in the Los Angeles river on the way to my moms house that were all good cause Del Shannon and the Beach Boys sang us along.
There was a time and place I would soar above the clouds on my belly on a swing waiting for the magic hour of 5pm when my father would appear to pick us up. There was a place in the yard where I could kick a ball very far. I could jump rope in that space as I imagined another pla
ce. I was happy and sad but all was good cause I had no understanding what was wrong.
There was a world I explored, a place I adored that in the pages of those books I could take a second look and be unafraid. I listened to him snore and I copied him, as I adored the ways at which he was my only hero. I was courageous and strong and all was good.
There was a world full of sand where I got to build and mold all kinds of things. There were the fried burritos and the shared cans of soda. The sunscreen and hours in the surf. The ride home at dusk with the drive-in behind us as we sat on the wall to sneak a peak. All was good I could still soar like an eagle.
The older I got the less I stayed on the sidewalk. I rode my bike in the street, right at Ronnie from across the way. I got hit in the face by a projectile kumquat thrown by the apartment kids. I jumped of the roof onto a waterbed mattress with no distress. The world seemed a bit sadder the older I got.
The night stalker roamed the night and we prepared for him with mighty, ready to fight him off with homemade clubs full of nails. The Wall fell along with our fears as we snuck sips off of dad’s cold beer. The shuttle launched and exploded. Then dad lost his job. Then the safety I had dissolved and the sidewalk seemed a bit safer than the street.
I lost that sense of adventure I had when I soared on my belly with the eagles above. The traffic seemed worse and mom’s house farther away from the safety I hoped to have. I stopped kick the ball and reading books. I no longer jumped rope or cared to stare at the painted cats in the wash.
Those time and places seem distant at best. I try and I struggle to hold them to my chest. My grandmother’s voice can no longer be heard. He memories fading and I am perturbed. No longer able to touch her hand, see her face, or even taste her cooking. She was where my sidewalk began and where my sidewalk ended.