13 (for my son)

Thirteen

by philip scott wikel

My son is growing, changing, struggling, reaching, thinking, dreaming, believing, hoping, and, hopefully, knowing where he is. At 13 it’s as if you’ve found yourself on the map. It’s not a map that you made of course, but it’s the map you find that you’ve been placed. There’s a dotted line on the map and that is, you suppose, the line you’re meant to follow. You sit and look at the lines and remember some of the places the lines lead to and you remember when you walked these streets with no singular purpose other than to just keep walking, keep feeling the sun on your face and feel the warmth in your legs as they chug away at the asphalt and dirt and cement and then, maybe, up a tree, not necessarily to get a better look but maybe just because the tree is there and you feel the deepest need to climb it.

Well the lines on the map don’t allow for the trees and the dirt and the climbing. They say go this way, then that, until you get to this place, then that place, all places that are part of the arc that leads to the…

Well I don’t want to go there yet, there are trees to see and hills to climb and I’d like a new skateboard and to learn every crack in the sidewalk between here and there. I want to go everywhere and, at the same time, be nowhere at all. I don’t want to grow up. It makes me want to throw up and I will if you make me stay still and quiet and listen to your busy buzz and all that you want me to hear about this and that. I want out of here, at least for a day. I want to stay a boy. I want to ride on dad’s shoulders, I don’t want to grow older. I’m fine just the way I am.

Problem is I’m getting taller and I’m starting to forget what it was like to be smaller. There’s something that’s pushing me this way and that. It’s coming from inside me and I wish it could be that it’s leading to something much better and brighter than what I can see. And maybe, just maybe, it is like that. And maybe, just maybe I can keep a little of this, and keep some of that and be small on the inside for the rest of my life. Yes, I’ll stay small on the inside and see life from there. I’ll do what I need to but stay me inside. And that me on the inside is all I need be.

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