Is there anything better than kids? I may live in an eight-to-five adult world. But I hope no matter what banality comes my way, my adulthood might do its part in keeping childhood the magical thing it should be.
A few days ago, I was hurriedly driving home for lunch. I had a million things running through my head: concerns about work and people and finances. And then, of course, traffic grid-locked. This scenario creates a logical trap because it seems like bumper-to-bumper situations always occur at the worst times. But honestly could something that terrible ever happen in a vacuum known as “good”?
I inched along, waiting for my turn to pass through the four-way car colander, now with the new worry of taking too long at lunch causing a new ulcer of thought and, well, the beginnings of an actual ulcer.
And that is when I reached the crest of a hill and sat momentarily next to a small school.
Two teams of children were engaged in a familiar game. A red, rubbery ball bounded toward home plate and an intense boy sprinted to meet it with an unkind foot. The bases were loaded–or had been–but after he sent the ball over the now-reeling outfielders’ heads, the runners wheeled toward home.
The whole blacktop roared with cheers and laughter and screams. At home plate, each runner was met with exasperated hugs and smiles and pats on the back. The team in the field retrieved and hurled the ball from person to person, trying to beat the last runner–the original kicker–to his congratulatory place among his teammates.
Not a single person was left out of the magic. The fat kids, the athletes, the pimply ones, the goths . . . all of them were temporarily suspended in a place where no abuse occurred, there were no taxes or jobs or schedules, there was no evil or war or hate. They were trapped happily in a game, suspended from reality, the biggest and lone concern being the subsequent call from the play at the plate.
I didn’t see the outcome.
The car behind me sounded its horn and I drove on, away from the blissful afternoon scene, forgetting it altogether for a world of worry and toil. But somehow it still remains, the truth of it lingers within.