I was at Cariso Park the other day, admiring the new playgrounds, new football field, the new zero landscape gardens and so on while I was listening to Just Because on SoundCloud. Somehow the lyrics of his song, Story of My Life, hit me hard and I began to cry thinking how a young, eighteen year old kid must now face parenthood and must grow up to raise his son who came unexpectedly and untimely.
I began to think about my own childhood and how I had to grow up and be mature due to my parents separating and now my life had changed at age 10, not counting the reality of leaving the “security” of my home and moving around from place to place, never knowing where I would end up next and how long before my mom and I had to move again.
Everything was confusing for me as a kid. I remember thinking that everything was somehow fixable, thinking that things might go back to normal but they never did. I felt hopeless at times, thinking how can I fix my life, as if it was up to me.
I always needed to hide from my dad since mom didn’t want anyone to know where we now lived and my cousins kept harassing me trying to find out where we were now living. It was a very confusing time for me, I felt as if I had to lie to everyone and I did. Somehow this child learned how to deceive people, how to cheat, how to lie. This child was no longer a child but a lying adult.
Now I was back at the present time at this park, contemplating how my childhood went so quickly, I miss playing games in the park, I miss letting go and worry about nothing as I once did, I miss feeling security (I don’t recall when I did). I miss my childhood.
As I walked through the maze of the garden, through the newest playground full with slides, ramps, cubes I found my inner child. I found that five year old that was hidden there within myself. I felt him smiling at the different cool stationary toys that he could be playing with, I felt him coming out and his eyes widened when I allowed him to play, I allowed him to slide down, climb back up, skip along the ramps, get lost in the maze, sit and play with colorful cubes… I found myself sitting side by side with my inner child, telling him that we can stay and play a little longer, telling him how much I loved him, telling him that he was always welcome to come out and play. It was safe to come out and play, nobody would harm him, I had his back.
For about ten minutes the inner child had his play time until he vanished into thin air, until he was satisfied and filled with happiness. I had filled that void that was always there, I had fulfilled a long lost dream of one day being that innocent kid again, being that pure kid that I once knew, being that honest and vulnerable again. It may be a while before I see my five year old again but I will be ready when he comes out to play.
©2014 Victor Sotomayor