|Internet stock photo. Source unknown.
Or in the park. Or anywhere the warmth of the sun and cool, breezy air conspire to liberate those astrictive burdens weighing heavy in your worn, leather satchel. (Gosh, that arm must be sore.) You might want to swap the satchel for something light, like a crisp canvas tote bag filled with peaches and champagne and a Frisbee. Wear your All Stars. Or your woven slip-on sidewalk surfers. Or flip-flops. Or nothing at all. Bring your felt Indiana Jones hat, or a baseball cap, or a straw fedora, or anything brimmed and easily stolen by the wind.
It's been a long time.
How will I know you? Will you still look the same?
Remember my small Brooklyn Heights apartment on Kane, where I gazed at Lady Liberty from the third floor paint-chipped window? I could walk to the park from there. A long walk. I won't do it like that, though. Not this time. I want to get there quickly. I'll take the subway from Cobble Hill to Prospect Park. (If I can still do that. If it's still there.) Up Flatbush. I always liked the underground surprises along Flatbush.
I'll be waiting for you. At the swings. Adorned in a long, gauzy skirt, white t-shirt, beige linen blazer and crinkle scarf. And flip-flops. We'll spread a colorful cotton Peruvian blanket under a large singing sycamore, pop the cork and consume the fuzzy fruit and bubbly. Our cheeks will blush with a lustrous shade of spring— golden rays and mossy budding trees, cherry plumaged cardinals and deep blue blossoming crocuses.
Late afternoon you'll decide to pull the old drum sticks from your tote and bang them against the tin filled with chocolate mouse layer cake. I'll be amazed you've kept them all these years. I'll want to cry, but I won't. The ice cream guy will come by with his cart and you'll buy two vanilla bean ice cream cones, and we'll toss the Frisbee while licking chilly streams of sweet goo slipping off its crunchy, inverted spire.
Then we'll head over to the playground. Remember how we used to play? Hopscotch or jump rope, or the see-saw or monkey bars? You used to dangle from the center bar and never let me pass. We'd spin on the little merry-go-round 'til we were dizzy.
Remember some kid almost lost a leg on that spinny thing? We won't spin this time. But we might hop on the springy frog. We might go for a slide on the big one with bumps in the middle, and jump through recycled tires.
Or we might just sit on the colorful cotton Peruvian blanket, and eat ripe peaches. And layered cake. And vanilla bean ice cream. And we'll listen to spring's symphony: birds, swaying trees, the little waterfall, babies on the carousel, and pedal boats on the pond.
And get to know one another again.
When it's silent, in that shared-grin moment, we'll know it's time to pack up our bags. We'll meander by the playground one last time. I may even challenge you to a monkey bar duel. But this time, I know you'll let me pass. This time you might even hold my hand. In mid-air. As I pass. Your arm will no longer be sore.
We'll remember that we were always layers of percussion and harmony.
We'll still like each other. A lot.
I'll want you to take the subway back home with me. So we can get there quickly.
*Pearl and the Beard. Percussion and Harmony.*