Growing Up

Back then, in those days which feel so long ago, William and I, outfitted in our traditional jeans shorts and Batman and Spiderman t-shirts, would lean up against the trunk of the oak tree in the middle of your backyard. All around us, the golden leaves cascaded through the air with the elegance of a brush stroke from a master artist. I miss those days when the leaves of youth fell. The paint neglected fence blocked us off from the entirety of the outside world. We would lie down, stare into the white cotton ball clouds, and relay what, in our imagination, existed beyond the gate. We wondered, was it a smoldering pit of lava with gargoyles circling up above, or was it an enchanted forest in which we would encounter the seven dwarves, Snow White, and all of the other fictional childrens’ book characters, who knows?

One day, to our surprise, the gate was left open. We reached into the endless abyss of branches above our heads and removed our celestial swords form their sheathes. We wielded our noble swords cautiously, anticipating what we might encounter as we approached the gate opening, soon to be followed by the body of a great beast, the physical manifest of all that is unknown. At that moment, our eyes widened in both fear and awe as we gazed upon the monstrosity. Its skin was darker than the darkest of shadows. Its eyes burned like fresh embers from the bottom of a fit of fire. Drool spilled from its lips as it snorted and admired its tail. We knew then that if we let the beast breach the castle walls, all would be lost. So with a deep sigh, we charged admirably at the monster. With one fell swoop of our branches, it was as the Red Queen would have said, “Off with its head!” Finally, for the first time, we saw the outside world for what it really was. It was a paradise, not something to be feared.

Beyond the gate was a sea of houses: blue, yellow, red, tan, pink, and every other color known to man. Two grown-ups were screaming, “Bailey-girl, Bailey girl, where are you?” The dog rose from its feigned slumber and leaped through the opening, returning to its home. Back on that day, which seems so long ago, we learned how to conquer our fears. We could do anything, be anything we wanted to be. However, not long after that, the oak tree that swayed in the wind no longer bored its multitude of golden leaves, and with the loss of the leaves, our innocence, our youth, and our imagination vanished, closing behind us the door to childhood. After all, nobody is a kid forever.





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mrbill68 said...
Oct. 3, 2012 at 8:24 am
This piece really connected with me on an emotional level. I can remember the times I had growing up and it really saddens me to think I can nver relive those moments.
 
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