How dare he flaunt his youth as I stare out my window, relegated to a chair placed here by my wife so I can see the neighbours moving outside our complex, complete with a variety of families and older folks like ourselves?
There he goes again, now climbing the tree and showing off limberness once available me. Not now for sure, my legs unruly and unsupportive, unforgiving as I lurch from one room to another. Canāt remember the last time I climbed a tree. But Iām sure if mom had seen me, she would have had conniptions.
Donāt these young people know there are rules in this place? Folks like me on medication canāt afford to worry about anyone climbing a tree, especially a child. If he falls, broken bones may add to crying in the breeze, and soon an ambulance coming for a hospital ride. Then who pays for the costs? My taxes I suppose. Well, at least before I retired I worked and paid taxes.
The little fellow turned seven the other day, my wife said. He lives with his mom and two sisters and there he goes to school, mom driving him of course. In my day everyone walked, not because we had no car, but because we liked to walk. Today, everyone has to drive; even the price of gas not a problem.
For me each day seems to be getting longer. Freshen up, eat breakfast, have a snooze, lunch a little TV, check the windows, a few birds flitting by and good gracious, three oāclock already? Time to check my favourite window. There he is, already back from school. They get out too early these days. How can they learn anything in just a few hours?
His mom is outside too, having a chat with her little boy. Probably telling him heās getting an increase in his allowance. I didnāt have one, had to do chores, and no financial reward. Money too tight, not today though, everyone makes more than seniors, almost starving to death from lack of money.
My wife says the boyās mom does well on her salary, just a clerk at a downtown store. And said that lady just loves her little boy. And she wants him to grow up strong, since he never met his own dad. I did feel a little tear on my cheek. I never had to wrestle with those problems. Mom and dad loved me, and they were around where I could see them.
I see the little fellow rolling on the grass again and kicking a soccer ball in the little park beside his house. He somersaults then races to the swings. I used to fly higher than a kite, just like he is doing now. What a copycat. And his pent up energy tells me heās in a world all by himself. I used to be too when dad went away to work for long periods.
The little guy is tearing around with a basket ball trying to get way up into that hoop. If my legs were stronger, I could show him how itās done. Yes, he might like that. Got to see his mom first and tell her she does have a fine little boy. Besides, my wife says she is real friendly, and a good long term neighbour.
I get my cane and slowly head for the top of our stairs. Itās a long way down, but I know I can do it. Once I too ran and tumbled, and flew through the air on a swing. And my basket ball cleared hoops. I used to be pretty good then too. Down the stairs I go, First one step, then two and three.
Ā Richard L. Provencher
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