THE BOY IN THE PARK


Early on a Sunday evening, I went to the park. Well, Kihei dragged me there. She loves looking for new sticks. She gets so excited when we find one and I fling it. She chases after it with such fervor that I worry about her. She breathes sooooo hard. Too hard, I think. Frenchies have issues with their breathing.

We were alone in the park (not unusual for a Sunday evening) except for a teenage boy who was practicing kicking his soccer ball. A tall fence was his goal. It brought back memories. Forty years ago, I was that kid (except that for me, it was a basketball). Alone on a Sunday night, working on a passion that, ultimately, would lead to the disappointment of realizing that I wasn’t good enough. But during those solitary times, I was able to dream and cope with a loneliness that never completely went away.

When the boy finally picked up his ball, walked to his car and drove away, leaving Kihei and I alone in the dark park, I wondered if the boy, too, was lonely. And if he was, I wondered what I’d tell him. Would I advise him to make more connections so he wouldn’t have to spend secluded hours kicking his soccer ball in the park? Relationships, after all, are the sources of our greatest joys. How were his?

Or would I tell him to keep finding opportunities to spend time alone, dreaming. Because someday, forty years from now he’ll remember what it was like to be young enough to believe that anything is possible.


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