There was a lake in Ontario I used to dream about. It was surrounded with rickety boards that cluttered around grassed over knolls. Those half covered bellies of dirt once felt the feet of children brush over it in a hurry to get to the edge; the edge of the water where they stared down into a reflection of youth and liked to smile. They all liked to smile at themselves. When they were finished smiling they would look at each other and without hesitation, like fish feeling the current, or birds feeling the air pocket, they would dart off in the exact same direction. They would leap back over the mound, and down into the thick of the tall grass.
I would sit on a porch in the corner to collect the shade. I was increasingly uncomfortable, as I got older, because of the weight gain. I constantly shifted my hips and looked for a place to rest my elbows and maybe cross my legs. An old hat was pulled down over my eyes and there was just the sound of children playing. Children playing can be the sound of arguing, wrestling, running, and screaming about cheating or winning. Playing to them is teeth and tears. Playing to my children is always about grunts and grit. Taught pre-pubescent muscles wanting the rope or hogging the ball. The time for leisurely enjoyment with fishing poles and tackle in tow was for the babies. I told them that war was an acceptable game. And war they played.
They ran passed the porch a couple times with make believe m16 and machetes of fortune. One of them stopped to a slow stroll in front of me. He came to a halt the way a car slams on it's brakes and then goes into neutral to let the target know that he knows as well.
I lifted up the brim of my cap and looked at the boy with a squinted eye and a curled "tempt me" smile. He kicked the dirt and looked at his shoes. I leaned forward.
"What you want boy?"
"Wanted to know if you wanted to play."
"Is that so?"
"Well now that is an interesting proposition. But I think I've had enough playing for a while."
I rocked back a little trying to find a place to rest my wrists and spread out my knees so that I could relax. I squirmed at the idea of food and lemonade. I felt my stomach start to burn from the lemon pie I had eaten earlier. I felt my face get a little flushed and full as I heard the children running in the back. I leaned my hat back over my eyes and rested my arms across my chest.
"O.K. then" I mumbled over and over again. I smiled at the darkness given to me by the brim.