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May 29, 2023

A Child's Creativity

By Thomas Elson

At age five, he learned to be creative –
When visiting friends’ homes
And their parents kissed
He learned how to be creative –
When sitting at their dinner tables listening to adults non–threatening talk
And in the back seat of their cars watching the mother scoot closer to the father –
An entire trip with neither profane nor scatological name–calling
With no historical attacks
With nor combat-ready battle lines.
He learned creativity –
When he noticed other parent’s bedrooms had only one bed – not two.
And after dinner they would go into the living room and sit close to each other
and talk without retreating to separate corners.
He honed his creativity –
When asked about his parents, “How are your folks?” and about his granddad’s
hotel, “How’s Webb doing now?”
His answer, “Fine,” was a five-year-old’s supreme act of creativity, because he knew most of the facts.
In quick order he passed from “fine” to vague red-herrings –
A vacation his family didn’t take
His dad’s new job which didn’t exist.
None of which was accurate but in his mind, none of it a lie either –
He needed it to be real
To have a bright light shine upon his family.
The family that rushed toward darkness,
Then default into hostility
As if family life were nothing more than an armed truce.
He needed for someone, anyone, to smile, just once,
To smile when he asked a question.
He would do whatever he needed to procure that smile.
To not feel that his family, maybe his world, would be better off without him.

Article © Thomas Elson. All rights reserved.
Published on 2023-03-06
Image(s) are public domain.
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