A young boy yearns for love
Some days I would go into my backyard at home and climb on the swing set. I would start swinging, pumping my legs until I swung as high as I could. I pretended to be flying on a rocket ship, flying to another planet, a planet where I might be embraced, cared for, loved. The flight always ended too soon. “Dinner’s ready,” came the call. The swing slowed, and I dragged my feet on the grass until I stopped. Then I shuffled my feet across the backyard, through the back door, to the dinner table. We sat in silence and ate. After dinner, we all sat down in front of the television to watch “The Brady Bunch.” Perhaps it was this show that taught me about love. I just knew my family was not the Bradys.
I was in fourth grade. Wednesday was “art day” at school. I never was very good at art, or so I believed. Today we were to make decoupage. Each student received a wooden plaque. Then we sorted through a variety of greeting cards to find the one we wanted to use. I sorted through the large stack until I came across a picture of pheasants rising into the sky from the grassy marsh below. I wondered where they might be flying and I wished I could join them on their journey. I returned to my desk and carefully glued the card to my plaque. Then I took the dark stain and blacked out the entire picture. I looked at it for a moment and felt as though the blackness into which I was staring was more my life. It was not until I began wiping the stain away I saw life return. I left some of the stain in the corners, framing in an oval-like shape the pheasants. It was, to my eyes, a beautiful piece of art. One of the first things of which I remember feeling proud.
Today was going to be special. School let out, and I hurried home. I could not wait to give my picturesque artwork to Mom. I rushed into the house and told her I had a gift, proudly presenting my artwork. She glanced at it and then said, “Thank you, it is beautiful. I love it.”
I went to my room, lay down on my bed, and began to cry. Mom loved “it.” She loved “it,” “it,” “it.” At least she cared something about “it,” and “it” was something I made. Maybe that meant she loved “me” too. Eventually, I went into the backyard to my swing set. Again, I began to swing as high as I could, higher than I had ever swung before. Then I again closed my eyes, imagining a planet of love in some distant galaxy. The only difference this time was the thought of my Mom going with me quietly appearing in my mind’s eye.