Youth is happy because it has the capacity to see beauty. Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.
My alarm went off, the blaring inches from my head. I switched it off and I mechanically climbed out of bed, slipped on my jeans and a hoody and creaked open my bedroom door. My sister was snoring softly on the couch, she’d been kicking her legs while sleeping lately, so she’d put herself on the couch to save her husband from being woken up constantly. The moon was a silver sickle, it was dark as night even though it was the early hours of the morning, I climbed into my car and drove. As I walked in my ex-wife handed me the baby monitor and told me I’d forgotten to grab my mail last time I was there, adding that I never listen to her, the room was dark, and I couldn’t see her face. She left, I took the baby monitor upstairs and set it on the coffee table, adjusted the couch cushions and lay back on the sofa, falling asleep in an instant. It hadn’t looked like a comfortable sofa in the pictures, but it had had good reviews, and my former wife and I had agreed it matched our decor well. I dreamed of Her, as usual, tenderly making love while I looked into her sweet eyes. Soon enough I woke when I heard my son stir softly on the monitor.
Children were running and screaming.
“Nice job buddy, you can do it, another step,” my son carefully stepped up the playground steps towards the slide, he gripped the railing carefully with his small hand.
He was pretty sure-footed for an almost 2 year old, but every once in a while he’d lose his balance and go tumbling, so I always kept him in arms reach. He was ecstatic when he got up the last step, then sat down on his bottom and scooched the rest of the way to the slide and slid down. We all cheered and clapped. He just smiled and looked at us, then ran back to where the steps began and started his climb anew.
“Such a happy kid,” my friend Monty remarked.
I had met Monty and his wife, Denise, and their son at the park. I’d been friends with Monty since elementary school, he and his wife had just moved back to the area, in fact, Denise had gotten a job at my company, different department though. Their son was just a few months behind mine. We were the first two family men in the old crew from high school, well, perhaps I was now an ex-family man, but still a father. We talked and helicoptered over our two young toddlers on a sunny day in the park. A park that Monty and I used to play in, we’d ride our bikes out there, play basketball at the courts, or go screw around down by the creek, harass the cattle that lived on the other side of the fence. It was strange coming back to it now that we were older and had kids of our own. We reminisced about the trouble we’d get into, about those carefree days. And we talked about jobs, family, daycare, finances, politics, and other adult matters. We avoided the topic of my divorce.
All the while my ex-wife was sending me aggravated texts. She’s been pushing to drop one of my visitation days already, saying it was too much to bear seeing me three times a week. I thought we’d be going to more visitation, not less. I wasn’t willing to budge on this without good reason though. She was claiming that our son wasn’t sleeping well and being very fussy after I left on the visitation days. I knew it would have to be an adjustment, it wasn’t easy for him or me to go from seeing each other every day to about every other day. My ex-wife was claiming this was all in our son’s interest, but I feel she’s blinded by her own pain and projecting it onto him. Her and I were also texting, she is always my ray of sunshine, Her and my son.
Times certainly had changed, it was almost noon, I was exhausted from chasing a boundless bundle of youthful energy across the park on a hot day. But, it was nice, watching my son’s wonder and curiosity, picking up sticks, rocks, wood chips, an old deflated balloon was his favorite toy for the day, simple pleasures and joy of life. But, all good things must come to an end, Monty and Denise hoped to do it again sometime, we had to get the boys home for their naps, so we said our goodbyes, and I pushed the stroller off towards my former home. Life is never like you imagined it would be when you were a kid.