I pass by it every day when I go to work. The fences around it haven’t stopped the trees from spilling out. They are bursting out, into the sky. Green and dense trees, you cannot see through them. The neighborhood park has been here even before I shifted to this apartment. I have lived here for three years now, but have never been there….
It lies right in the middle of the city. Nestled in between a maze of shops which sell everything your heart could desire. Ignoring the park, I come to the shops for my daily groceries. I am too caught up in my city life – work, eat and sleep. But, the park just stays there. Winters come and winters go, I see the leaves change from the brightest green to the warmest yellow. Sometimes, when the car horns aren’t loud enough, I can hear the birds chirp – like a disorganized orchestra. The kids of the neighborhood pay a visit to it every evening. I know this because I get off work at the same time. Mums and Dads drop them off at the gate of the park, and kiss them goodbye. They walk into the park with their heads high and their laugh full of promises. Their cricket bats are bigger than themselves, but they manage to carry it all the way. They push the rotating gate of the park with one strong stroke. The green swivel creaks, and gives way. Soon they are inside, after which I can’t see them, anymore. I envy their freedom.
It’s not like I never wish to go the park. The laughs and the chirps call to me whenever I pass that way. But, I am too busy. There is always something to be done and someplace to be. I have to fix up dinner or finish up some paper work, or clean up the house, or do the laundry. There is little time left for going to the neighborhood park, and even when there is, I use it to catch up on my sleep. Sometimes, I think to myself. Maybe if I had company, I would have gone. Heck! I would have gone every day then. I would have gone with my family, but my husband gets too tired after work and my kids are all grown up now. They wouldn’t come with me. The women in the neighborhood are in their own cliques, and frankly their company isn’t something I desire. But, then again, it would be nice to have someone to go to the park with.
Last night, I dreamt about it. I dreamt that I finally went in. I pushed the gate, and the rusty green swivel creaked against my force. It gave in after some effort and then, there I stood, in the park. The view was magical. Birds flew across the vast sky and the trees waltzed with the air. Butterflies played with the long stalks of blue tulips. It felt like home. There was a yellow cobbled path winding through the grass, it went on and on, till my eyes could see. I happily hopped around on it, taking it all in. This was very unlike me. I couldn’t remember the last time I had hopped. When I looked down, I saw my face reflected off the shiny Red Ruby Slippers. They seemed familiar, like something I had lost and found.
Today, I got to know that I am being posted to another city, someplace far away. My family is happy to be moving, they are looking forward to the adventure ahead. I haven’t still come to terms with it. The packers will be here next week. We will have to start organizing things again into – what we want and what we don’t. I will have to choose. But, there so much left to be done here. I haven’t visited the park yet. I want to hear the green swivel creak. The dream starts to replays in my mind. The bird, the breeze, the cobbled road and Oh! My beautiful Ruby Slippers…. “Should we keep the TV honey?” my husband asks. “Huh?! Yeah…. Yeah we should” I reply. Ah! Don’t worry woman, I tell myself. Life isn’t over yet. My posting is for only three years. Who knows? I might get a chance to come back here one day. And when that day comes, I will forget everything else and I will go to that park. Simple as that.
I will, won’t I?