Seven. I would walk on the edge of the cracked, gum stained sidewalk, arms spread wide like a tight ropewalker. I was focused. All my concentration was fixated on not leaning to one side more than the other. The blue car that flashed across the corner of my left eye, the group of teenagers chatting widely on my right side, my mother 10 paces behind me warning me to get down from there or I would hurt myself. All of these crying for my attention, trying to make me lose my focus, as if they knew that if I were to lose focus I would place one foot off the edge and the game would be lost. But to their discontent, their diversions were nothing more than faded colors and noises, which together created a symphony, only aiding in my effort to make it to the end of the block in one, balanced, piece. About half way through the length of the sidewalk, something white in-between the crack on the sidewalk catches my gaze. I kneel down in front of the plant, and watch. Next thing I know, my mother is beside me picking the delicate flower from between its concrete bed. She prompts me to make a wish and then blow it away. I wish for more dandelions along the street so I can have as many more wishes as I want. I suck in as much air as I can, my cheeks inflated as if two balloons sit in the large air filled crevasse I create in my mouth. I blow one long breathe of air directed at the side of the dandelion, and as if it were waiting for one rush of air, it explodes in hundreds, maybe thousands of tiny little white firecrackers, invading the air, slowly, searching for a place to land and begin new life.
Ten: I’ve been here for a week, it’s hot and mosquitoes are for some reason angry with me. I’m in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, visiting family members I have never even seen before. They coon all over me, tell me how pretty I am, tell me that you are very tall for you age, just like your daddy, they make me uncomfortable, I want to go back to my room, in New York. I’ve been told I have too many American customs, and so the other children make fun of me. I explore on my own. I walk through the huge land my grandfather owns, I poke at trees to see if I can get a mango to fall, I pull leaves from the trees and feed the stems to the goats, because for some reason they do not like the leaf itself. I sit under a tree and close my eyes as I breathe the salty, ocean filled air. I open my eyes and look around to get a feel of where I really am. And under one of the coconut trees at the far end of the land, a group of white puffs hovering in the air catch my attention. Dandelions. In the 40 seconds it takes me to run to the other side, I am running across the Ralph Ave. to avoid the incoming cars, I am racing my cousins to the end of the block, I am running across the edge of the sidewalk, attempting to keep my balance. I run to the flower patch, pick one up and wish that one of these seeds may some how end up somewhere in NYC, and with one swift release of air, it explodes in hundreds, maybe thousands of tiny little white firecrackers, invading the air, slowly, searching for a place to land and begin new life.
Seventeen: In the past 13 minutes I played Paul McCarthy’s “Blackbird” 5 times on my acoustic, each time with cleaner and more precise progressions. This morning I watched “The King’s Speech” for the 7th time this year. And for the 7th time this year I cried for King George VI 1st wartime speech. Yesterday I finished reading “The Stranger” by Albert Camus for the 2nd time, and wondered why couldn’t it have been a happier ending, but than I remembered it was an Albert Camus novel. This is a new room, a new home, a new borough, this quiet cricket filled neighborhood is not Brooklyn, and it is much quieter, much more still. I take my dog, Paris, named after the city, for a walk to see the new neighborhood. There is a pond near my home, and decide we should go sit by the pond. As we sit there a family turns around one of the pond’s corners and a mother chases behind her two daughters, who are screaming and laughing in bliss. The little girls run towards a patch of matured dandelions, and close their eyes for a brief moment, they suck in as much air as they could and blow, the dandelions explode in thousands, maybe millions of tiny little white firecrackers, invading the air, slowly, searching for places to land and begin new life. I feel like I am in a familiar place again, I smile, I am free to explore the world.