Monday, August 1, 2011

Let's keep on playing!

I remember the day I stopped being a kid.  It is as clear in my mind as a crystal ball.

It was the beginning of August, and I was ten years old.  Mom’s newest “Redbook” magazine had arrived and I was reading a short story.  It was hot, the kind of heat that sapped whatever energy one has left in a hot afternoon.  I was sitting in my grandfather’s old rocker, a big burgundy leather rocker that wraps around the sitter and makes it hard to summon the will to stand up. The living room was darker, now that the sun had moved over to the west side of the house.

That was when my brother Robert came in the house to get a drink of water.  He was dripping sweat.  Our youngest brother Bill was on the porch and wanting us to come out to play ‘spies’.  Robert wandered into the room and looked down at me. 

I could feel him, smell him.  I was furious at him for teasing me that morning when we were chasing each other.  He had long fast legs, and I had short legs that ran like they were stuck in mud.  I was furious because I always was the 'bad guy', the one who got shot & died, the one who got tagged. So, I ignored him, let him stand there glaring down at me.

“Whatcha doin’, Sis?”
“Reading, that is what I am doing.”
“Wanta come out and play ‘spies’ with me and Bill?”

That was the pivotal moment, that one right there

I didn’t even look up at him.  I sniffed, and turned a page in the magazine.  “I’m too old to play ‘spies’ anymore.  I am too old to play at all.” 

Robert waited and waited, expecting me to jump any moment, and take off running.  Then, he turned and left the room.  I heard the screen door slam, and heard him tell Bill that I wasn’t going to play anymore.

A few days later, I got up in the morning and found the signs of my first menstruation.  I ran downstairs and told Mom, who showed me what to do.  ‘I guess I really am grown-up’ I mused. 

But, at this time period of my life, I want to go back to that pivotal moment and change it.  I want to say, “Sure!  Let’s play ‘spies’ and I get to be Natasha!”  I want to tell Robert, “I’m sorry—I stopped the game too early!  I want to keep playing!  I was wrong!”

If only I had looked into that crystal ball and seen ahead.  If only the game never ended.  If only we had run and chased long into the night.  If only....

9 comments:

  1. I think girls give up play long before boys do.

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  2. Oh, this post made me so sad. I never wanted to stop playing when I was kid. Everyone around me stopped. Fortunately, now I get to act like a big kid (I make toys for a living) and I have gained back some of that lost innocence. You never have to stop playing Susan!

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  3. Awww this makes me want to cry. "If Onlys" are killers aren't they? This is such a touching post. I think nature can be so unfair. You should of had a few more years. Its not too late...
    tag yor're it!
    Blessings, Joanne

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  4. So powerful. It's sad growing up. I dread the day when my girls will stop playing, but I worry it'll come faster than I think.

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  5. Youths want to mature, adults want to invest time wisely, and the elderly envy our young ones. It’s never too late to enjoy life. Plan for tomorrow and live for today, for time is too precious to waste wanting . . .anything. Your story was heartwarming. Thank you for sharing.

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  6. Childhood passes too quickly and sometimes we rush it. Sometimes there's not much we can do about it.


    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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  7. I disagree. I think now is the perfect time for you to start playing Susan. I loved what you wrote and how you wrote it, it was beautiful and nostalgic, but you have grand kids. Maybe it's time you taught them who Natasha is. :) I know when Mr. P came into my life I started playing spy's and cowboys and all those fun games all over again. No it wasn't with my brothers but I had a fresh new little boy that was all about the games I gave up so very early.

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Go ahead...it won' t hurt...I'd love to hear what you think!