We All Scream

23 06 2014

As though it’s the lilt of a siren’s song reaching above the crash of surf on stone, my son can hear the ice cream truck when it is two blocks away over the hum of low-level aircraft and petroleum-fueled gardening conveniences. He runs around the house, straining to the tips of his toes out of each and every window, perhaps to steal a glance of the converted delivery van that, to this point and not without effort on my part, has remained entirely elusive. This is not over with, says the look on his face, and he goes back to his Melissa & Doug puzzle.

Settling into my office chair, I cannot help but stare out the window and relate. My own ice-cream-truck-of-a muse works her way up and down the streets of my neighborhood. On occasion, she will stop outside my house. I rush out to greet her, not limiting myself but enjoying a number of artistic delights. But for what seems like the overwhelming entirety, she remains an ephemeral concept, a fluid piper, trailing a measure of inspiration behind her down the sidewalk two or three streets over. Yes, I have a keen sense of hearing too…and the same eagerness to give chase. I want to leave this chair and run into the street, arms out as wings, turning and gliding as the fleeting moments of melody swirl. Thus the dilemma arises of leaving my son alone in the house, which I clearly cannot do, or dragging him headlong (and not in the slightest against his will) out into the streets where his ears will lead him in the direction of the promise of a different kind of sweetness.

So I remain in my chair. I satisfy myself with the notes that float through the window, savor them, and let my imagination play in a way my body cannot. Then my fingers begin; the embrace maybe not so unrequited. One paragraph introduces the second: frustration evolves into fruition. I give pause to breathe, and find I that have finally come this far. The footprints prove the path taken. Tiny steps start in the living room and end by my side. My son, too, has finished his puzzle.

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