MIDWAY : Lesson in time

Kamal Prajapati

Hot dogs, buns and apple sauce. Paper planes and superman capes. That was my childhood, and as I look back through the misty filter of time, I can only wonder how it all ended up this way. It was swing sets and shiny red bicycles. There were rides on my daddy’s toes and trips to grandma’s house where I could get a taste of the best bananas in the world. Grandma’s bananas always tasted better than anyone else’s. I rode ponies and rocket ships. More than once I cracked my skull and momma would always stop the crying by rocking me in her healing arms. Would you believe it? I was a child once upon a time. A little tyke with nothing to worry about, other than finally getting those shoes that would make me the fastest kid on the block. The highest jumper. You wouldn’t believe it to look at me now. I was made of rubber. When I fell, I always bounced back right up. No harm done. Daddy could pick me up without the slightest hint of strain. He would swing me in circles until I nearly threw up from the spinning and laughter. I could sit in his lap and pretend I was reading the paper just like him. I loved to watch him shave and couldn’t wait until I would be big and strong and make my daddy proud. I tried, but I fear I failed. I mean, Jesus, look at me. I’m sure not big and strong. Not anymore.

Our home was small but that was fine. The three of us would have had it no other way. Momma was always there to greet us as daddy came home from work, and I came home from school. She always seemed to enjoy our wrestling more than I did. Or more than even daddy in his widest smile did. She would just sit in her chair and laugh as she watched us locked in a friendly tussle. I miss that blabber, the laughter. The sound of a happy mother is the sweetest music there is. Now my home is filled with grunts of pain and the passing of time that goes faster and faster. I’ll be out of here soon but I really don’t look forward to it.

I know that everyone must face it, but that doesn’t make it easy. If only I could be in the home of my childhood when I go. Instead, I’m in this prison of old people who pass everyday. They call it a home, but it isn’t. It’s a place where we all become kids again. No swing sets, but plenty of apple sauce.