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“ A Simple Love ” by Anthony Vega

Tearing off the blankets and pajamas in rapid succession, I struggled with a t-shirt and some jeans and headed for freedom! Shuffling the first three steps, hand on bannister, hurling myself - aided by gravity, finishing each flight with a resounding simultaneous stomp of my sneakers. Repeat twice; breath shallow, blood coursing, I burst through the door, one final cement porch flight of steps to the sidewalk-- sticking the landing!


"Tony! You haven't had your..."

"I'll eat after the game, mom...!", I shouted before she could finish.

Most of my friends had beaten me to the pavement and their laughter echoed off the cement and brick that comprised Sixth Street on the Lower West of Side of Manhattan. Car horns, screaming and growls of city busses serenaded the adolescents finding fascination tossing a small rock onto hand drawn chalk outlines of the numbered boxes adorning the sidewalks. Similar boxes further on void of contestants mocked mature pedestrians; heads down, making their way to places more important or desperate. A four piece group tested themselves with a lively Double Dutch. The unruly ones heard the warnings of attentive mothers leaning over the sills of open windows.


"Jonathan Christopher! If I have to come down there ...!"

"Missy, you know your father will be home any minute!!! Don't make me have to tell him that...", her advice swallowed up by the neighborhood garbage truck. All this commotion escaped the attention of this four year-old boy beginning a courtship with a game fast becoming the greatest source of joy in a life that barely held perception.


My first memorable thought involves a run-in my eyebrow encounters with the corner of the bed frame in my parent's room. Sixty years on I still carry a trace of the duel. My second memory, clear as I can tell, is a near out of body experience as I stand sandwiched between the kitchen window and its smokey transparent curtain playing out an imaginary contest with a worn strip of paper.


The third episode of this fledgling existence involves a fascinating weathered plastic sphere, hollow inside, one half of which bears six oblong holes; yes seven that cause it to swerve erratically. This moment is transfixed as I concentrate to the highest level a four year-old can muster, some fifteen feet, the width of a one-way street from my opponent. With bad intent a youngster methodically practices swinging in a wide arc, waist level, a broomstick salvaged from an alley between a decaying tenement and the five and dime where I redeem empty soda bottles in exchange for 'Dipsey Doodles'.


I am the last line of defense, five steps behind and shaded slightly to the pitcher's right side. Some of the neighborhood pigeons watch with pigeon interest I suppose, while others are unwitting participants as they bob and peck for sustenance among patches of sand, discarded newspapers and decaying carbon. A child winds-up and lobs the whiffle enticingly towards the batter...His eyes widen before squinting, swinging mightily!


Everything up until this point had proceeded as any other moment; in real time. As stick met ball I could tell it had been struck well and the round blur hurtled towards me at a tremendous velocity!(IT CAME AS FAST AS ALL ANYTHING!😳)My teammates couldn't react fast enough.[Jackie Chan at the height of his acrobatical* brilliance could not have deflected or impeded the approaching projectile]. Evenso, inside myself this fragment of eternity slowed like a scene from "The Matrix"


The stars, the sting, and the ringing ears all came in swift succession, followed immediately by the warm tears on the flushed cheeks of the startled boy. It matters not whether the child wiped away the salty leftovers of the hurt with the back of his sleeve, or they were removed by the caress of a loving mother. Both scenarios have since escaped into the void of what can no longer be recalled by those present or never really held consequence to them in the first place. I think what really matters is THAT glorious day is frozen in time as a reminder of a simple love.


*THIS MAY OR MAY NOT BE A WORD BUT I LIKE IT🤔



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Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Five star review! Fun to read ❤️❤️

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Thank you my greatest fan!

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