Two things happened recently which made me feel sad. The first was yet another familiar instance of wanting to be able to walk faster and further than I could. It’s like that common nightmare of needing to be somewhere and not being able to run to make it on time. Your head is telling you to run, and you just end up walking through treacle.
I’m afraid to tell you, for me, that nightmare is my day-to-day waking life. My kids were on their bikes in the park, but the arrangement of me meeting them on a bench half-way fell through, so I ended up walking as quickly as I could, knowing with every step that they were waiting for me further along the path, hoping they would have the sense to stay there, and not try to cross the road. In that moment, right then, I wished I could fly. People walked quickly past my struggling self – one suggested a skateboard, one roller-skates when I told them I had been left behind, two options which were so impossible, they made me laugh. Happy ending though: the children had waited, and didn’t complain or criticise, they just carried on beside me, happy I was there.
The other thing was harder – I was standing at our front door seeing my two aging parents struggle to get to their car, my dad hit by another wave of Lime’s disease, my mum in agony with one hip, and unsteady with the other one, a recent replacement. She has had to say goodbye to many beloved past-times – kneeling to garden, swimming in the waves of Donegal, riding her bike. That is a stuck place that many, many people, most of us actually, will have to live in as the years pass by.
I’m remembering two photos of my children – one is my son holding on to the bars of his playpen, screaming blue murder to get out, desperate to move beyond the square metre space he’s been restricted too. That is like everyone who has been forced to exist in ever-shrinking spaces. The other picture, however, is of my little girl, plonked down on a rug in my parent’s garden, playing with all the toys within her reach. She couldn’t even crawl then, but she just sat happily for over an hour, pleased with what was nearby.
So, what are the things that bring us contentment when the dream of flying is only ever going to be just that – a dream? I don’t know about you, but I intend to seek those things out.
And possibly buy a bike.