The lost playground
Lost in thought again, I pace the humming street with my eyes down. They get into less trouble that way. If the pavements weren’t so cluttered with abandoned rented bicycles and e-scooters, I’d try walking backwards.
I am brooding over words I wrote here several weeks ago when describing that species of social embarrassment called not knowing where to look when you pass a schoolyard of children. ‘It takes me a moment to remember,’ I said, ‘that a man wandering on his own must no longer pause to look at children running races in their mirth.’ I did not, I now think, adequately register the sadness of that loss. Scurry from a playground for fear of appearing sinister and we might as well be scurrying from the vitality of life itself.
The worst part of being told you’re sinister for no other reason than that you’re a man out wandering on his own is that eventually you begin to fear you might be. But sinister how? What’s the dread clutching at society’s heart? And why is it now clutching at mine?
I hear the children laughing and scuttle past. Here’s the tragedy of it: I am severed from the the time when I laughed in a schoolyard myself. The wistful music of continuity is stopped.
You are reading this week’s paid story. To go on reading, to rejoin me on the Street of Ceaseless Disquiet, to gain access to more articles, audio-essays, fiction in progress etc, and to make my world a happier place, why not upgrade to a paid subscription?