Monday, July 10, 2006
I had a full weekend. Full enough even to update this neglected little journal of mine.
It started out well enough with a game of softball in which I inched closer to being able to pull the ball with power. As a Little Leaguer, I never really learned how to hit properly, and only swatted at the ball, unable to hit to left field. It took me some time of picking up a bat again as an adult to understand that I must pull the bat through the zone turn my hips to generate power, and turn my rists over as I swing through the ball. Unfortunately, though I know how to do it, and the ball is as big as a grapefruit, I usually ground out to the third baseman. One of these days, I'll hit it out to left. (I can hit it out to right no problem.)
I then toured prospect Park by bike with my Little Brother. We even hooked up with a couple kids he knew from school and rode the interior paths a bit with them, looking at a moss-covered pond. Not only that, but I taught them all how to skip rocks on the water. They were all impressed by my facility: I made a rock skip four times! These kids as well as a couple of girls we ran into posed the question to my little that I was grateful he had to answer: "Is he your dad?" Now my little is black and I am not, so I am clearly not his biological father, but I guess father is the likeliest supposition to a child who sees an adult playing with a kid. In the case of the girls, they pressed him long enough that he was forced to admit that his father was in prison. "He's filling in for my dad," was my Little's formulation. I was both a little proud and a little discomfited by this statement because I am so conscious of not interfering with the father/son bond, even if they are separated by prison. With the two boys we rode around with I stepped in to say "I'm just a friend." Once again, when I had to bring the day's activities to a close, my Little became petulant, saying "It's not fair." I try not to become irritated with him for acting out a bit (he usually sees whether he can push me to stay longer by lagging behind or some such), remembering how valid "it's not fair" seemed to me when I was young, and how frustrated it made me when I received the reply: "life isn't fair." True but cruel, I guess. He said to me before I left him at his door: "I hate my life, it's so boring." He feels restricted at home and when we go out and have fun together I think the contrast between the undifferentiated days that make up most of his life and what he knows is possible becomes difficult to bear.
That's a lot of space and only half a day. Plus, we saw Nacho Libre, which was almost too much fun to bear.
I feel unequal to the task of discussing in-depth the loss of my front wheel for my bike (which I left next to my car), the endless driving I did that evening to try to recover more than one lost item, or the hike I took with my father the next day.
So I will end simply by saying that I cannot imagine the pain of having a father who will be in jail most of my life, though I can imagine a lot of pain.