04 August 2009

Park Birthday

At work the other day I was serving on the patio and while trying to light a birthday candle for someone, in spite of the wind, I remembered so many childhood birthdays where the lighting of the candles was such an ordeal with the ever-present ocean breeze. So I jotted this down. Brought back some good memories.

Trying to light the candles at your eighth park birthday party.
It's windy on the bluff and all the kids are gathered into a circular mass of hair housing sand, and fingers, somehow sticky, thrust into grinning mouths.
The prospect of cake.
Mom's tanned arms over the frosted masterpiece, the smell of her shampoo and the view of her freckles is enough of a birthday present.
Shielding the fire from the ocean breeze, she tells you to make a wish.
Closing your eyes, it's perfect
And you know that it doesn't matter what you wish,
because you have everything you need.
And the sun sets and the park lights illuminate big yellow circles on the sand and the blacktop.
Jenny fell asleep under the slide, purple frosting clinging to the corners of her lips.
Plastic table cloths and crumpled paper napkins fill the trash cans--the only remnants of the candles and cake and 7-year-old you, now growing up so fast.
And you close your eyes and you're pulling into the driveway.
You pretend to be asleep so Dad will carry you inside.
He knows your tricks, but he carries you anyway.
And his heartbeat is your lullabye.
And he kisses you goodnight.

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