So it's a new school year, and it's my day off. Here I sit at the schoolyard, having come to pick up Handsome when school let out. Handsome decided to stay after school and play with some kids, (surprise, surprise) playing wall-ball and tag, and whatever else they decide to play today. I took a seat at one of the picnic-style tables they have under the tree next to the playground and broke out one of the books I'm currently reading, 'Full Dark, No Stars', by Stephen King. Eventually the Fun Club, an after-school play program, came out and set up on the table next to me. They brought with them even more kids, and I have been surrounded by small children for over an hour as I read about horrible things happening to a poor woman, all with Mr. King's particular sense of detail. Small children playing with balls and toys, throwing paper airplanes past my head as they try to find out who can make the best design.
After a while it all seemed just a little surreal, all the strange thing I was reading right here in the middle of a crowd of innocent little kids. I felt a little weird, constantly feeling a low-grade worry that someone might start reading over my shoulder, and get a little freaked out. I mean, I know they can read; it's a school program, after all. So I put the book-marker in place, closed the book, snapped an elastic around it to keep it closed (as is my usual habit), and put it aside.
Right in front of me in the space so recently occupied by my book, there were two words carved into the table. Though I somehow missed them when I sat down and inadvertently covered them with Mr. King's story collection, they were carved deep into the wooden surface. Someone took some serious time to make sure their message would last once they left, that it would survive beyond them. Each block letter was about an inch high, and the loving care they took in the carving made the words clearly legible.
I slapped my book back down over the words, placed my folded hands on top of it and considered. All I could picture was a child coming along (hell, they are all over the place here), looking down at the carved message and then looking at me. And then going over to one of the adults and saying “That man wrote on the table, and it says –“
It's not just that, I don't want them to see it at all. So I went to the motorcycle and got my laptop out of the backpack strapped to the little luggage rack. Now it sits squarely where my book once sat, and I'm waiting for all the kids to leave. I'll point it out to one of the staff once the kids have thinned out, and maybe they can have a custodian come out tomorrow and clean it, or obscure it somehow, before the kids come out again. Until then I'm kind of trapped. Handsome is thrilled to have all this extra time to play with the kids. He doesn't know why he's getting to stay so long, and he ain't asking.
I definitely ain't telling.
Talk to you later!