Sunday, May 20, 2007


Dear boy in the park,

I wanted to walk up to you and ask you if you wanted to play with me and my family (what I really wanted to do was ask you if you were okay...were you safe?)

I wanted to help you out of your jacket, turn down the one side of your shirt collar and let you know that it was a warm May day (what I really wanted to do was ask you if you were wearing all the clothes you owned.)

I wanted to extend my hand as an encouragement to pull you out of the cool shade and into the warming sunlight (what I really wanted to do was wrap my arms around you and smother the vacant look in your eyes with my mother-love.)

I wanted to walk over and push you on that swing. I wanted to see a smile crack your gloom-washed face (what I really wanted to do was ask your male-companion why he was just sitting there like a ragdoll, spreading his lifelessness all over you.)

I wanted to kneel in front of you, look into your eyes and offer you a glimpse of the happiness that a nine year old boy could have if he wasn't as lost as he looked.

And when your male companion walked out of the park, abandoning you to wander alone, I wanted to run to you and tell you that now was your chance...your chance to tell a mother with too much love in her heart for just her own child...that your mother had died (not left you), and that your companion was your grieving father (not your abusive uncle) and that you were both here, escaping out of your small apartment to get some fresh air (not looking for scraps of food in the back alley of the local restaurants.)

Whatever was suffocating the spark of life that I knew a young boy should shine with, I wanted to rip it off...I wanted to oliterate the yearning for the burden-free life I saw in your eyes with kite-flying and movie nights and campfire songs.

Instead I was rooted with overwhelming anguish and sadness as I stood in the middle of the playground watching my husband and daughter awash in their boundless love...while you and your companion walked out of the sun-dappled park and disappeared.

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