The afternoon thunderstorms remind me of the days playing in the gutters. We each picked what we thought would be the best boat from the mulch beneath the lilac bush in front of my yard. We’d carefully inspect the bark as though we had decades of naval architecture training. In reality, we each had had our own theories: Mine was that the flattest, smoothest one with a little breadth sailed the best.
A few small peebles in the gutter became rapids of immense scale. I held my breath and clenched my hands as seconds became moments; I hoped my little craft could navigate the siren call of the rocks that would surely drag my ship down and wreck my chances of winning the race.
It never seemed odd that the first one into the storm drain, lost forever, was declared the winner. We played together whenever sprinklers, car washes, or rain showers created a new torrent to captain.
We played together for a few more years, racing our mega-yachts or Mississippi River rafts or cigarette boats down uncharted rivers.
I remember the summer I turned eight, and as a storm drenched our neighborhood I tried to gather the crew together for another voyage down the mighty Amazon or Nile or some other uncharted river that would test our metal.
“That’s for little babies,” they said with a sneer on their faces. “We don’t do that anymore.”
I slunk away.
Sitting beneath my lilac along I could see the boys in the window next door pointing and laughing. I was left alone, dejected, and languishing with my child-like, weak notions and ideas.I flicked at the bark for a while, letting the rain drip down my face, arms and hands, and then wandered back inside.
It is raining outside and my boy sits planted in front of the television with a few friends.
I know that childhood is fleeting so I invited them outside for a race.
Written for the Trifecta (weak, 3rd definition) and Studio 30+ (fleeting) challenges
Word count: 321
As always I am open to all harsh, brutal or not criticism.