Hey there human beingSubmitted by has on Sun, 08/31/2014 - 19:35
It's Sunday afternoon, the sun finally came out and its been shining down for hours. The sky's blue and perfectly clear now, but earlier in the day when it was still dark it rained. At noon the humidity and outside temperatures were higher than normal. It was miserably sticky; the kind of weather where your clothes glue to your skin and you can't get cool, no one wants to be outside.
By 3:00 the pools of rain water have dried up and people are starting to come out into their yards and the streets again. I'm on my way home from walking my dogs. The smell of ribs grilling over apple wood drifts through the air to me. I pass a family gathered together for a picnic in the neighborhood park.
Dad's hanging back in the shade of a big Cottonwood tree, working the grill and sneaking sips from a sweating bottle—He's in the midst of taking a long pull of beer—when he sees me passing by. He makes a move to hide the bottle. I've disturbed him, intruded into that sacred space he's found in front of the grill. It's a space filled with wisps of smoke curling up to chase away the twin ghosts of work and worry. The disturbance is brief. Presently a wave of ease settles over his face. Everything about him returns to the way it was before I came by. He seems to be saying "Ahhh fuck it, it's Sunday afternoon and I'm here to enjoy myself" as he raises the bottle to his lips again.
His boys are in the still rain slicked grass playing a lop-sided game of touch football. It's a two-on-one game. The larger boy, a team all by himself, is twice the size of his brother and their friend. Passing by I watch one of the younger boys twist around and duck under the older brother, who's momentarily of balance, and dart off. His legs pump hard, he runs as fast as he can until he's safely in the makeshift endzone at the end of the grass. His teammate lets out a triumphant yelp.
Mom's at the playground pushing her daughter, the youngest of the kids, on the swingset. As I approach I see the girl flicking her legs out at the top of the swings arch; she's building up momentum. With the last bit of umph, she'll be able to touch the leaves of the low hanging branches on the tree that shades the path. When I get closer I hear a steady stream of words rattling from her mouth. She describes with precision everything she sees while she does her best to impersonate a pendulum.
That's when I hear one of the most wonderful things I've ever heard uttered in my life:
"...And there's a human being walking two black dogs."
As if there would be something else walking two dogs! I wonder if she meant it as an insult before realizing she couldn't have, she's too young for cynicism.
A wave of ease passes over me. I smile politely and wave, there's not much else I could do, besides, it's Sunday afternoon and I'm enjoying myself. I cross the street with the dogs wondering what the world has in store for her and hoping she turns out alright. She's got a good start.