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Episode 8- The Earth Vs. The World

I sat down on the colorful metal horse, taking hold of the hand grips, and stuck my feet on the pegs, laughing as I immediately tipped far forward, the spring attaching the horse to the ground stretching and groaning from lack of use. I leaned back, which took greater effort, then forward again, finding a rhythm of rocking and thoroughly enjoying myself. I think it had something to do with having outgrown this particular piece of playground equipment, it made me feel younger on one hand with a zing of guilty pleasure on the other.

If there had been any school-marm types patrolling the grounds I would have been sure to earn a look of disapproval. Especially had there been any tots awaiting a turn. But there were neither; as usual I had the place to myself.

For some reason my own ‘marm’ came to mind, and I realized something significant. Even if it were someone else’s over-sized offspring rocking back and forth, the sight of it would have made her laugh, not scowl. I dropped my feet to the ground, my eyes drawn in the direction of home, feeling as if I’d had some kind of epiphany.

“Race you.”

I looked to my right and grinned as Ijustam started rocking the zebra, looking as if he would tumble over the front of it as his own weight tested the coiled spring worse than mine had, not to mention his height. I resumed my own rocking, shouting “Giddy-up,” pretending for a moment that we were in a chalk drawing from Mary Poppins-any moment now our ‘steeds’ would be released from the confines of the dirt and we’d rock them straight across the field and into the woods.

I stopped after a minute, breathing heavily, and he followed suit. “I would not have thought these things were capable of giving me a workout,” I commented when some of my breath had returned.

He smiled strangely and I raised a brow. “What is it?” I asked.

“I interrupted your train of thought.” He stated.

My brows furrowed as I followed his gaze. He was looking in the direction of my house, as I had been before his appearance. “Yes…,” I said slowly, “I was just thinking about my mother, realizing that I’ve been hard on her.”

He cocked his head to the side, but said nothing, waiting for me to go on.

I took a breath as I tried to organize my thoughts. “It’s just…,” I shook my head, “I think I’m beginning to understand that every journey on this earth is different. My parents may have been the ones that shuttled me into this plane, but that doesn’t make me their carbon-copy miniature. They have their own thoughts, ideas, beliefs, and struggles, and I have mine. The problem with my mother in particular is that she seems to think I should view the world as she does, to the point where she presses her convictions on me. The resentment I have is about that weight I’ve been carrying around, particularly since it’s not my baggage…does that make sense?”

His lip curved slightly as he nodded. “Perfect sense. Especially when the baggage is mostly fiction.”

I felt my eyebrow raise. “Fiction? You mean religion?”

He shook his head, “No, at least not entirely. You said she wants you to view the ‘world’ as she does, and it’s the ‘world’ that is the fiction.” He swung his leg over the zebra and bent down, scooping up a handful of sand. “This is earth,” he told her as the sand slipped back through his fingers, “Earth is real. The world…” He put his hand up and spun his finger in a circular motion, “only exists in our minds. Like the paper money we use to buy things; backed by nothing but the full faith of the American people; the entire society surrounding it is no different, it’s only real if we believe it’s real. For example, if the vast majority of the nation woke up one morning and decided that judges in their “priestly” black robes were nothing more than men in costume, their power would disappear- because like paper money it’s only our belief in them that gives them that power. The problem is that most people choose to be blind and deaf to the reality. It’s not a conscious thing, but still they choose the fiction, or the prison. Out of ignorance, or fear, or the desire to be accepted by those around them- the result is the same.”

“The result being?”

He spun his finger in the air again, but slowly at first, picking up speed and then falling off the zebra to the ground. He looked up at her, his expression serious. “They always fall, these “great” nations. Next time you see me, ask about oaths.”

I started to open my mouth then shut it. Oaths. I had no idea what he was talking about, but by next time I surely would. I slid off the horse and landed beside him on my knees. He sat up, his features intense and probing.

I smiled, brushing sand off his arm. “You are the best thing that’s ever happened to me. Never doubt that.”

His return smile was slow in coming, but when it appeared he almost looked his age. He got to his feet and held his hand out for me. I grasped it and he pulled me up. He didn’t let go, his fingers entwining with mine instead. “Walk me back?” He asked, glancing across the field to the woods.

My smile widened as I nodded, and as we walked across the field I memorized every step and nuance thinking; This is why it is good to be here, this is what makes it worthwhile.


The Playground Series: Scene 1
The Playground Series: Scene 2
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