“I only allowed my imaginings…”
I grew up in the gutter. Didn’t dare to dream of big houses with white siding and carpeted stairs. I only allowed my imaginings to go as far as the front garden – beds of daisies and posies and all those other “–ies” flowers, the kind that are cute and pretty. I would fall asleep at night shivering, and thinking of brightly coloured blooms in landscaped yards. It’s warm now, where I fall asleep, and I know that the siding on my house is Italian Eggshell, because I picked it myself, and I have to think about the carpeted stairs once a year, when they need cleaning. I’ve hired a landscaper to do my front lawn, but I still can’t seem to get the flowers to bloom.
“mount your mop-horse and...”
Sit in the chair while your attendant fastens a patriotic cape around your shoulders, then mount your mop-horse and give it a good kick. Ride to the land of magic carpets, and close a screen door behind you so that everybody can see your carpet flying, and everybody can hear your laughter falling, but nobody can come in.What should you do with a lawn chair, a Canadian flag, a mop, a rug, and a dislodged screen door? Or, put them on the balcony of your apartment.
“how are we supposed to forgive…”
Trespassing is a pretty big word, but I know how to read it – we learned in church. “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us.” But how are we supposed to forgive the trespasses if trespassing isn’t allowed in the first place? If nobody trespasses, then there won’t be anyone to forgive. Sometimes, I forget about forgiving, and I just get angry instead. There are lots of ways to be angry. Sometimes I yell really loud, and pound things with my fists until my knuckles hurt. Or sometimes I just sit down and do nothing and stay really quiet. That’s what I did when dad left.
“I remember seeing that bright...”
In Kindergarten, we watched a movie called "The Red Balloon." I don't remember how the story went, but I remember seeing that bright, round colour floating through the grey streets. I remember following it with my eyes, and squirming in my place - not because I was impatient or bored, but because I wanted to follow the balloon, and I didn't know how or why. Today, I saw a red balloon, fallen and crumpled, and for a moment, I was that child again. I wanted to follow it, so I bent down near the ground.
“The soft tops of trees…”
We walk watching our feet, cautious of stumbling, too preoccupied with what is beneath our soles to consider what lies ahead, or above. It is only when we skirt a puddle - we don't walk through it, because watching our steps saves us from that - it is only then that perhaps we catch a glimpse of something larger. The soft tops of trees, streetlights gone dark for the day, telephone poles stretching up, stringing wires to connect us all. The colour blue. A reflection, merely.
“Holly was an adventurous bunny…”
My daughter called her pet rabbit Holly, after her first grade teacher. Holly was an adventurous bunny – she took after her young owner. Holly, my daughter said, always wanted to play outside of the hutch. And my daughter always wanted to play outside of the yard. “Just keep Holly within your sight,” I said. Little did I know, she had been studying astronomy at school, and that day’s art class had been devoted to making telescopes. My daughter stayed within my sight and held her glitter-glue-covered paper-towel-tube to her eye as she watched Holly hop down the street and disappear around the corner. “Mommy, I can still see her,” she said long after her pet was gone.