Twenty More Minutes to Go

Well it’s the night before I leave. I just got done pacing around the driveway of my parents house smoking cigarettes… nervously? Excitedly? Restlessly? A bit of all of those I suppose.

Across the street from the house I grew up in (which my parents still live in, wonderfully quaint isn’t it?) there is a rather large park. Actually, it may be that the park isn’t that large, but it spills out into the baseball fields of an elementary school. Where the park ends and the adjacent elementary school begins has long been a subject of debate. One that I experienced previously from the perspective of shrill recess whistles. We used to try and sneak slowly, feigning at playing outfield, toward the tennis courts and library that lie opposite the school. Every now and then we would actually make it. A feat something akin to those crazy soldiers covered in twigs who can crawl painstakingly slow across a field and pop up right in front of you without you ever realizing that they were anywhere near you.

Nowadays I just walk across the street, over the drainage ditch and head for the swing set. Sometime late in high school I discovered that swinging on a swing set, which neither I nor my friends had done for years, was really damn fun. So whenever I come home, being the insomniac that I turned out to be, I inevitably head over to the park for some night swinging.

Swings have a rhythm of up and down, that mirrors all of existence, the tides, love lives, population, the stock market, the sun and moon, hem lines, economies, your chest when you breathe, everything is up and down. You kick your legs our straight and propel your body forward and then lean back on the downswing such that you are always both propelling and being propelled by the motion of the swing.

Then I dig my heals in to stop and light a cigarette or lean back and watch the stars—what are those three stars that form a triangle on the ceiling of the sky trying to do? Am I the only one who sees that triangle or is it universally obvious and I just have a weird hang-up because my high school girlfriend used to say that I pointed to three different stars every time I asked her if she saw it, which might really be the point here, that if you look for it it’s there. Any three stars can be a triangle true, but are you looking at the same triangle I am?

In order to swing there must be a point to pivot around. Between you and those three stars there has to be an axis around which to pivot. Right now I’m swinging in a park in Costa Mesa California. Tomorrow France. Strange swings. Different pivots. Less of swing now than a pendulum circling a point I can’t yet see, but my heels drag definite patterns through the sand.


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