The worrying thing about change, I find, is that it’s always the same. Unrelenting; unwavering; unsentimental. When you find the moment you are happy to see out your days with…this too shall pass. Such a loss is many degrees worse than some of the most harrowing events I’ve witnessed or been party to; I’ve always learnt from harrowing events. How to be stronger; how to be more patient; to consider consequences. What have I ever learnt from a moment of happiness? Synonyms. Some were more ‘joyous’, others would be better described as ‘thrilling’. Few others, ‘bliss’.I fear less the darkness that blinds than the light that burns. One quickly extinguished, the other lingers. But what for?
This was as far as my asinine thoughts had pondered until I was distracted. There was a child, apparated next to where I was sat. A boy. Young, no older than four. Five at a push. Despite barely reaching the desk at his fullest stretch had his nose peering into my notebook.
“Hello.” In the same sort of way I would address a strange cat in the kitchen, I had an opening gambit.
No answer. His hands remained buried in his blue dungarees as he haunched over my writing. A self appointed editor-in-chief. With no parent in sight, I moved to ‘cat in kitchen’ line two:
“Are you lost?”
“Are you lost?” He echoed.
“I’m where I’m supposed to be. You’re not though are you?”
He turned to look at me and cocked his head. He was laughing guiltily as though he and I were sharing a secret. One I, perhaps, didn’t understand.
“What are you writing about?”
Amidst all else curiosity and wonderment had won out.
I stared both inwardly and onto the paper in front of me.
“It’s just what I am thinking. It feels important.”
Only silence in reply.
“…just to me. No one needs to see it. It’s cathartic. I want to feel like I’m doing something positive.”
More silence. Dead air I felt compelled to fill.
“I want the world to be different, better maybe.”
“Like Batman?” The energy of those two words obliterated the soundlessness from before.
“No. I don’t want to save the world; sometimes, I would quite like to believe it is worth saving.”
I wanted to tell him of complexities of adulthood; checks, balances; moral relativism; ideology; but I just felt foolish. When I was young, there was what was right and there was what was wrong. I had always considered that the world had seen its edges frayed, but, in keeping, it was more complicated than that.
I stopped and looked over the child properly for the first time. He didn’t meet my gaze, not avoiding it just…never fully acknowledging it. Distracted by everything around him all at once. He was somewhere where everything was new and exciting. Even as jealous as I was, I felt less of a man for considering taking that away from him.
“So is it? Worth saving, I mean..?” I asked. I’m not so certain why; the wisdom between the ages, maybe, started to shine through even just a little.
“Oh, yes,” the lone reply, tinged with auspicious excitement, “…there are dinosaurs.” With that he turned away with the grace (and accompanying roars) of a T. Rex and vanished as swiftly as he had come.
I now had my answer. I caught the knowing look in my reflection from my desk mirror. I replied with a curt nod before my eyes returned to marking time across the page once more.