How I discovered my own good fortune in life
My parents decided to do their OE
when I was less than a year old.
we ended up living in South Africa
for 6 years,
hightailing it back home
when things got really bad.
I had one of those trikes. You know; sturdy plastic little suckers
all bright yellow and thick red wheels.
One big wheel was in front
my chubby little legs felt like they were powerful pistons pumping
beside the twin treads at the back
It even had knobs that I could pretend to push,
and a sticker to tell me what the dials were.
But that had kind of worn off.
I loved that wee tricycle
and played on it almost every day.
So often that I left it in the driveway one time
and Mum realises she is late,
piles me into the car unceremoniously
to go somewhere.
It was one of those adult trips
three year olds are not told about,
like grocery shopping
or picking up Dad from work.
Beeping was suddenly drowned out
by an awful crunching sound.
Mum thought it was the cat.
My beloved trike was sticking
out from under the back wheel of the car.
I immediately burst into tears,
was so upset - screaming
I insisted on accompanying it to the dump,
A casual funeral for my prized toy.
We got there and unloaded the busted trike from the boot.
Immediately, a horde of young
black boys came out of the garbage.
They had on tatty, faded clothes
their pink palms grasped its yellow plastic
before I was finished saying goodbye.
They were young,
but heaps older than me,
maybe by as many as eight years.
They hooted and cavorted
the busted wheel and crushed side flying over the garbage
as they took off laughing and shouting.
I smiled briefly at their happiness,
somewhat pleased to see my special toy in such good hands.
My heart twisted when I remembered my earlier tears
and I looked at my knees the whole drive home.