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It was a fun game, for about thirty seconds.
Darting, ducking and dodging over playground pavement to lose it. Loose the dark, distorted image spilling out from your toes. Shake your shadow, and win. Then reality reeled us back in. It diverted us to more realistic pursuits, like digging holes to Australia (where at least we were free from improper fractions).
Thing - Pays - Dividends - Game - Number
I hope I’ve learned a thing or two since then: Like, studying pays higher dividends than tunneling. But the shadow game? Here I am (a disappointing number of) decades later, still playing.
Just a glimpse of my twisted apparition on pavement taunts me to try again.
Rules - Years - Reality - Naiveté
The rules haven’t changed, but I have. Years of reality have squelched my youthful naiveté. They’ve taught me that I’ll never win.
So I play not to lose, and I play alone, preferring anonymity to shameful visibility. I’ve outgrown the playground, too, with its chipped charcoal-asphalt echoing squeals of delight. I play at more mature venues now, like grocery store parking lots, alleyways, and the cracked sidewalks hemming in my home.
Wherever I go, my shadow’s sure to find me.
She’s longer and darker now. Her voided light slinks from my frame, defying the sun. She boasts a muddied and murky hue. Like a rinse cup collecting castoffs from the painter’s brush, hers is a life-blend of missteps, mistakes, and misgivings.
Who wants to live with the ugliness of that?
I’ve tried everything to shake her: Spin moves, stutter steps, head fakes . . . resolutions, self-talk, or a book prescribing both. But she persists; she’s a permanent fixture in my rearview mirror.
Game - Thirty - Seconds - Years - Playing
It was a fun game for thirty seconds, but not thirty years, and I am tired of playing.
In desperation, I run.
Distance - Distraction - Change - Shade - Relationship
I run for distance and distraction. It is a change, a new shade or relationship, a move. I run towards...
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