When I was a child,
Watching a wayward world through a lens of wonder and possibility,
Bound to an unusual captor of bats and gloves,
Reaching towards the rest of my life,
Over the head of the life I was already living,
I fell in love.
Not with a person or an object,
Nothing but a symbol of everlasting youth.
It was baseball.
Not just the game but everything that accompanied it,
Brothers becoming brothers.
The smells of trees and rain and concession stand hotdogs,
The sounds of a ball thudding into a catcher’s mitt and cheering fans,
The tastes of early morning Starbucks and corn nuts and bubble gum,
All of it stuck between basepaths,
Sitting on a bench in a dugout,
Spilled on the seats of my father’s car.
All of these little things,
All of the memories,
Just moments passed,
Lost in the depths of my mind,
Taunting me as I wish to return to them.
Although not yet old, I am older,
Reminiscing on the good and the bad of my youth.
I can still remember the veil of paralyzing loneliness,
Pierced by the family found in my brother’s team.
I remember the tears shed as I watched my father devoting his life to that team.
Those bad times were outshined by the good,
Team dinners in faraway towns,
Sunsets over outfield scoreboards,
Driving back to hotels in the dark with the windows down and classic rock blaring.
This is the way that I grew up,
Lonely but free,
Unhappy but secure,
In love with a thing that took so much from me,
Lasting Stockholm Syndrome bleeding from my life as it was to the life that I have.
I have lost this love,
No longer experience the ups and downs that can only be described as the reality of life.
I cannot weep over this lost love,
Knowing that this is how it must be.
I must let go,
Move on away from the family I found and the world I discovered,
Life doesn’t slow until it stops,
Barreling towards a hollow canyon,
Disappearing over a cliff to be covered by fistfuls of dirt,
Watered by the tears of loved ones left behind.
I must leave my love to rest before I lay in that hollow canyon.
Why must we grow up?
Grow out of our innocence and naivety, careless inexperience?
Why must we take for granted the memories of our youth?
Where do we retrieve them when our age returns to us and we miss the forgotten beauty of the world through a child’s eyes?
I wish the softness of the summer breeze would return to me,
Find me again in my days of regret,
In the sea of sorrow following me from my youth,
Sending waves crashing over my head.
I am not yet old, not yet wise,
But still, I mourn the loss of days past,
Loss of sweet summer softness,
Of the relentless rain ruining the chances I had of forgiving my father.
I have forgiven him since.
I forgave him like I forgave myself,
I often miss that swirling storm of emotions I felt,
The loneliness, the worthlessness, the heart sickness.
So young and so filled with pain, balanced only by the Children of the Sun radiating from my chest.
Views of the maple-*******, the leather-launcher, the grenade-catcher,
Smells of earth and freedom,
Sounds of gentle violence, drawn-out intellectualism,
Overwhelming my senses and filling my days.
Those memories will follow me into the reaper’s grasp,
Rest with me in my eternal cradle.
Despite the storm, the pain, the sickness,
I dream of that cradle where the memories, the bitter and the sweet, will come together in the storm,
Meet like lightning and thunder,
And follow me into peace.
I am not yet old, but I long to be,
To once again feel my love and its infinite reach.