I'm such easy prey.
"Mama, can we go to the park?"
Why hesitate? I know I'm going to say yes. It's morning. Or afternoon. There's a breeze. It's not as hot as I thought, and I could use some sunshine for mental health's sake. Besides, the park is green. There are trees. And all that's waiting at home is a kitchen full of dirty dishes, a living room littered with toys and unfolded laundry, and a dining room table that makes me sigh in frustration as I survey the schoolwork, mail, and games that are mounded on its discolored wood.
City parks are a haven, I've learned. I go there for myself as much as for my kids. I jump up the steps, zoom down the slides. I climb the large branching tree after my daughter and feel a puerile satisfaction as I gaze down on the park field from my lofty position. It's almost like the country, with its knolls and its quiet. Well...at least, it's as close as I'll probably ever get again.
"I need green space," I said to Matthew one evening as we prepared supper together. I was talking with relief about the fact that the bermuda grass had resurged in our backyard. "I'm a country girl, after all." He smirked at this assertion, trying to contain full outright mockery. "What?" I demanded defensively.
"That's what you say, but you'd spend a few days in the country now and then say, 'okay, I'm ready to go home'."
Is that true? I ask myself, and I just don't know. I'm accustomed to the city and its conveniences, but the idea that I have evolved away from my country upbringing makes me sad, contrite - as if I've betrayed a part of me that now reclines sickly and neglected in my emotional core, piercing me unpleasantly with moments of sadness when I bother to notice its sorry state. But whatever My Man might think, I do indeed need green space, which is why I scour this city for its parks and let my children run in them two to three times a week though I know they'll be near impossible to round up. And its why I myself linger among their healthy broad trees and short-clipped grass long past time - when I know I should be home starting supper.