Chalk Drawings in the Rain

Standing there alone, at the precipice of nightfall, the air turns cooler, daylight appearing a little dimmer and the shadows begin to fade away slowly. One moment his silhouette is beside him, it draws longer before simply dissipating in the pale, late afternoon ambient light, along with all the other shadows. It used to be so clear; his relationship with his kids, the expectations’, the experiences. But now they seem to be dissolving like a child’s chalk drawings in the rain.

It’s strange when you get older and your children do too, it’s not the same for you both. For one the days run by like a fast moving bus leaving one to yearn for what they may have missed and for the other they seem to draw on forever, full of opportunity, excitement for what may come, adventure and anticipation. For the parent there is a sense of loss, for the child freedom.

You knew it was coming, all the older folks say it’s so, that the time you have with them passes by so quickly and we take it for granted. That time passes by like a mid-winters day, and soon you’re wondering what happened, where did it all go, why do you feel as though they’ve forgotten you. You forget what it is like to be a teenager, cruising around with your pal’s, the freedom, no one looking over your shoulder.

Your daughter has a boyfriend, he gets more time than you now, she looks at him with that same lost essence in her eyes that she once had for you…when she was like five. It hurts, you feel betrayed, left behind, alone. They all grow older; your son leaps out the front door in his letterman jacket and the keys to his future, and his little tender hands not in yours, tugging you along. Finally the youngest glances back at you as she runs off to join her team mates on the field, it’s not fair you think, you used to throw her in the air and now her fellow ball players celebrate with her, they chant and cheer her on and they are louder than you and the sound of your voice diminishes as it gets carried away in the fall air.

Breakfast is lonely now; it feels unnecessary, like an old outdated custom. Like an old book you once loved to read over and over but it just seems like the words aren’t quite as bright as they used to be, the pages are more fragile and worn and the cover has seen its day in the sun, it eventually finds its way onto a shelf higher than the rest, it may be pulled out now and again but the air between its pages will grow stale and it’s binding dusty. Like all great books, once celebrated its now simply remembered.

You taught them, aimed them in the right direction, and gave them the tools they’ll rely on when they are all on their own. You are happy for them, and are yourself excited to see them flourish, grow and become adults. But somewhere along the way you forgot to prepare yourself, I suppose that’s what happens though, you love them, cherish them, teach them and watch them step away.

The Real World

There is a place between the real world and the world we find ourselves in throughout our lives. In this other world it doesn’t matter if we have someone to hold at night, if we are alone at Christmas and it doesn’t matter if we look anything like we feel deep inside.

But in the real world, the one that hurts when we are in it, the one where it matters if you come in first, we have to wear our masks and hide and go seek isn’t a game. We have to bury our feelings in this world and parlay our emotions so we can survive.

In the real world you’re lonely most when you’re among friends and in the other world you’re never lonely when you are by yourself.

When the sun sinks below the horizon most people in the real world seek out light, they seek shelter in it and are always looking for more. When I am in my other world it is the darkness I feel most comfortable in, in the darkness there aren’t any shadows to follow me and when it rains it’s like my soul pouring out all over the ground, spilling all my truths across the pock marked asphalt and seeping into all those little crevices, slipping away once more into the dark cracks in the Earth. The rain washes over me, holds me and comforts me.

Don’t get me wrong I like the sun; I like its warm, caressing rays. But it burns me too; it wants to peel back my skin allowing all to see my faults and my secrets. So I play with it, I bare myself to it, allowing it to sear my armor, my suit of lies that both protects me from falling apart and keeps me prisoner at the same time. And then when the day is long I step back into the cooling safety of the shadows, crouch down among my treasured fears and watch everyone walk by whispering dirty things to each other, things that I don’t understand, things that make me feel small and weak and lonely.