A short story

I am falling down … it’s a steep fall … it is dark … but I am not scared.

I am not scared and I am enjoying the slow fall. Am I falling down the tunnel that Alice fell through in Alice in the Wonderland? No, I think Alice fell through a rabbit hole as she chased a white rabbit. I don’t remember chasing a rabbit; this tunnel seems different.

I continue to fall … deeper and deeper … and then I see the light. I am on a slide! I am going down the slide, I laugh as it twists and turns, I can see the rest of the playground but I am now sliding too quickly to see anything clearly. I am going … going … and wham … I reach the ground with a thud as my shoes touch the green grass of the playground.

I look back at the slide. It appears so high and the covered bit at the top must be the dark tunnel that I came though.

I am here now, in the playground and I look around. There are so many swings and rides and I try them one by one. Then I see the wooden pony – there is a wooden ladder that I can climb to sit on the pony’s back. I have not sat on it before myself but I want to try. I think I can climb up the ladder myself and it doesn’t seem too high. Mummy says that I should be careful when I climb high so I will hold on to the rail as I climb.

I climb one step at a time and then another and within no time, I am near the Pony’s back and then one, two, three … I am riding the pony. I feel so high up, like I am so near the sky, I can see all around me. The playground has so many rides that I want to try. I will ride the pony first. I really like this. Maybe I will ask mummy if I can get a real pony, that’ll be so nice.

I look around and can’t see any of my friends in the playground. Mummy had said that I finished my homework early today so I was ok to go and play earlier. Maybe the others are still doing their homework. I want to wait for them but I also want to play so I will try all the rides and swings I can before they arrive.

I get off the pony and sit in the little blue hut to rest. I have a chocolate in my bag that I eat and drink water from my water bottle. There is so much sunshine and the metal buckle on my bag is shining in it. I twist around the buckle and the sunshine reflection falls on the walls on the blue hut. I like this hut – this is where I always sit when I am tired. When I grow up and I have my own house like mummy and daddy, I will also get small huts in my garden and then I can sit there all day.

I want to do something different now so I go to the basketball area. I find a ball in one of the boxes. I practice putting the ball in the basket. I want to be in the school basketball team but when I went for selection, our team lost and only Peter got into the school team. Our sports teacher Mr. Jones said that the next selection is after three months. I want to get selected then and go to different schools to play. I like going to new places and schools.

Some time ago I went to the nursery with mummy to drop my little sister, Rose, there. Rose cried a lot when we left her and I wanted to go and get her back. But mummy said that she would have to get used to going to the nursery so we have to leave her there. I went back to the nursery some weeks ago to pick up Rose and she ran out and hugged me.

Rose normally comes with me to play but today she was asleep so I came out on my own.

I practice basketball and try to put the basket in the ball from different places on the court. It is difficult and I can’t run very fast. Mr. Jones says that I should run around the court 20 times everyday and then I will be able to run quickly and play in the team. I run around the court but I am tired after 10 rounds. Maybe I will do better tomorrow.

I have some more water from my water bottle and then go to the sand area. I like building sand castles. I fill sand in a bucket and then make a castle with it. I draw windows and doors on the castle and then also a flag. I am the king of this castle. I bring some water from the pool and pour it around the castle. Whoever attacks the castle will drown in the pool of water.

I hear a dog barking and look around. It’s Bruno! Bruno is Jack’s dog. Jack is my best friend. We study in the same class, Jack must still be completing his homework but Bruno has escaped!

Bruno comes over to me and starts licking me on my face and hands, I cuddle Bruno and then we start walking. I throw a ball and Bruno fetches it. I run behind Bruno when he goes to fetch the ball. We do this for some time and we are both tired.

I take Bruno near the pool and then give him some water in my sand basket. Bruno drinks thirstily, making loud slurping noises. I too drink from my water bottle. We are both tired and I sit beside Bruno by the pool. I take off my shoes and dip my feet in the pool. Bruno sits beside me and I take water from the pool in my hands and put some over him, thinking it will cool him down. Bruno put his head on my knee and we look at the pool, the sky and the green grass.

I then hear my name being called. I look around but can’t see anyone. Then I hear it again … and again … it must be mummy. Maybe Rose is now awake and ready to come play here or maybe its time for food, yes maybe its food. I get up and run back home, with Bruno following me. As I approach home, I can hear my name again … and again.

“Daddy … daddy … wake up … daddy!”

I can hear my six-year old daughter Katie trying to wake me up. I have obviously slept beyond my allotted bed-time.

“Morning darling”, I call out rubbing my eyes, still partially asleep.

“Morning daddy!” she shouts back excitedly. “Look I am all dressed up, look daddy,” she continues pulling the duvet.

“Look daddy, I dressed up like mummy, like I am going to office, look daddy!” I finally open my eyes and there she is, smiling at me, proudly showing off her clothes.

I sit up and she jumps on the bed. “Look daddy, I got black skirt and pink shirt and new shoes,” she says pulling up her feet so I can see them.

“They are lovely Katie and you look so pretty today,” I say and a get a big smile in return. “Daddy, I dressed up like mummy does when she goes to work. Look I got a new necklace too.”

“It’s Sunday today, sweetheart”, I say kissing her forehead, “and offices are closed on a Sunday. So why is Katie dressed up for work?”

“Its play day today, daddy. Peter, Susie, Sarah, Tim and Joe are coming here. We will all dress up like we are going to work. They will be my colliz.”

“They will be your what?”

“My colliz, Daddy. Like Mr Smith and Mr Brown are your colliz.”

“Colleagues you mean?”

“Yes, colliz”, she says flashing her toothless smile.

“Co – lea – gues,” I say, stressing on the g.

“Co – li – zzzz”, she replies, busy counting the beads on her new bracelet. I can’t help but smile back. I pick her up and hug her tightly.

How do I explain to her that each day she spends thinking about growing up quickly, I often think about being a child again. How I wish that I could just escape from all the day-to-day matters and maybe for a little while just be carefree, like a child in a playground.

“Would Katie like to have pancakes for breakfast?” I ask.

“Yay … pancakes,” she nods with excitement and I get a big smile as a reward.

“Ok, lets go and make some then.”

We head downstairs to the kitchen and a new day kicks in with pancakes for breakfast.