Sojourn (Part One)
It was the middle of the night and I was taking a walk away from my problems. Just a short walk; I knew I’d have to walk back and I was fine with it. All I wanted was a few minutes to myself to kick me into a slight better mood.
So I skulked down a sidewalk on the street in front of my home, my hands shoved into my pockets, my eyes staring tiredly at the cracks in the cement. And I kept walking, and walking, and walking and walking. Then I looked up, just for a moment, and I saw a few bushes in front of a fence. So I walked into the bushes. Why? Because I wanted to.
On the fence were these tassles, made from some cheap, hard cloth whose name I didn’t know. They felt awful and scratchy, and they were connected to a wire circle hanging by a hook from a strong iron pole, painted black and planted firmly into the ground. Beyond the pole was a lawn filled with children’s toys. And beyond that was a white wall that led around to some glass front doors. This was a church, as I recall, though I couldn’t be bothered to go check.
I fingered the tassles. What did they do? I had no idea. How’d they end up on the fence? A theory popped into my head before I could think about it. Well, it wasn’t so much a theory as it was an image of some kids playing back here – maybe it was just one kid, a church worker’s daughter make-believing in the small plastic castle that took up a tenth of the yard. Mom finished whatever she finished and called out for little Jamie to come inside, it was time to go. Mom looks away for a moment – someone says something to her about a shipment of songbooks – and it’s long enough for little Jamie to run over and toss the tassles over the fence. Why? Because she didn’t know what the tassles did, so she made-believe that they wanted to escape and mere moments before she was taken away by big dragon Mommy, in one last act of confused defiance, she set her colored friends free.
So here I was, twenty years removed from childhood, rubbing at some tassles that made it no further than where they were tossed. When you’re an adult you know how little your actions matter, so you don’t bother tossing tassles. Except now I felt like bothering. I walked out of the bushes and towards a grocery store. I wasn’t going to go inside, though. I was going to climb it.