A Trip to the Park

When I was younger, I remember fighting my parents to stay up late during the summer. “But the sun hasn’t set yet!” I would protest when my parents claimed it was 8:15 and time for bed. I remember walking around in the kitchen, barefoot in the pajamas my grandmother had made for me by hand, looking out at the plum tree in our backyard. The dog would inevitably be pacing around on the ruts she’d made in the grass. With so much life to live, how could I possibly sleep?

Summer is rollercoasters and ice cream and fresh snap peas from the garden and swingsets and skating and biking and dinner bells calling me back home to set the table. Somehow over the years I lost that.

Not this year. Today I grabbed my 35mm Pentax and a few rolls of film (harder to find than I thought it’d be) and journeyed to Coney Island for some documentation and good times. I thought it’d be a long trip for a lot of meaningless hoopla. But when I got off the train, the sun was shining, people were laughing and smiling and color was everywhere. I shot film and cried at the fun I was having just watching everyone around me. The hawkers from their game booths, the DJ on the himalaya ride, the dads whispering into their babies’ ears…

I screamed on the Cyclone, sure I’d fall out at every drop. And when I emerged intact, all pieces securely fastened, I laughed. And laughed. And laughed some more. From the bottom of my very soul, I laughed. Not because anything was funny. Because I was that happy.

Exhausted from my happiness, I strolled along the boardwalk and sat down to watch someone flying a kite on the beach with such skill it was beautiful. When I stood up to leave, I felt myself looking back at the park and the day, remembering the days when I was a kid measuring the distance from this moment to the last and wondering how long it would be until I felt this way again.

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