Thursday, January 25, 2007

Just Boys

It's odd isn't it?

When we were young, like in our early 20's, we felt like adults. We felt 'all growed up'. Well, at least I did. University conferred on me knowledge. A job conferred on me adulthood. I was all that. Driving, smoking, drinking, I did all the stuff that adults did.

But now that I truly am an adult, I see these twenty year old kids and wonder at how very young they are. I get pulled over by police officers who only shave once a week but swagger like they've lived a life and a half. My doctor is a mere boy ... who looks too young to drink but who hands out medications to tottering old men like me. I sit in meetings with people who still have sand from the play pen in the cuffs of their pants.


They're just kids.

I've been home sick for the last few days. I came back from British Columbia with a ache in my gut a condition that makes me 'hurry' to the washroom. I feel wan and tired. Old and cranky. But today, I'm feeling better. Talked to the boss on the phone. Worked on my emails a bit. Got stuff ready for the Ruth Ryan Meyers conference we're holding here in Toronto. That kind of stuff. Tired myself out, nicely.

As I sat on the couch, Mike, who was up here working on a project for Diverse City, came up from downstairs with a handful of pictures. We have a box downstairs of photos that we've taken over the years. He thought that seeing some of the early pictures of Fred and Eric, our dogs who died of old age last year, would cheer me up. And they did. I still grieve them but it was nice to see pictures of them as wee pups.


But acting like they were grown up dogs. In each picture they were rolling around, play fighting, barking at something, chewing something, sleeping on something. Playing at being the big boys they would become.

Then as I flipped through the pictures, one stopped me in my tracks.

My jaw fell open.

I don't remember taking it.

I don't remember having it.

But there it was.

A picture taken at Glendale, on the ward, Lodge 11. My first job.

The picture was of a group of men sitting around the table. And as hard as I tried I could only remember one of the names. John. I've written about him before here on this blog. Philip wasn't in the picture but there were all these other ... these other ... these ...

... boys.

They were kids. They were so so so so so so young. Why don't I remember them that way? I remember them as being big men. Behemoth behaviour problem guys. Not these skinny little boys.

Their eyes look at the camera and they seem so lost. They were home ... and lost ... at the same time.

I never noticed.

I was too busy being a man. An adult. A growed up staff. To notice.

To really notice.

That we'd caged boys.

Mere boys.


What were we thinking?


Belinda said...

Dave, How do you do it? How do you write, day after day, fresh words that reach into a person's soul and give them food for thought for a whole day? But you do.

Thank you for sharing your gift of words and insight with all of us. I just wanted you to know how very much it's appreciated.

Julie Julie Bo Boolie said...

I saw your story linked to Michelle's blog (Big Blueberry Eyes) and wanted to tell you how very much I enjoyed your writing. I look forward to reading more of your blog soon.

It's amazing isn't how how being older gives one a different perspective. Especially when I look at photos of the young men killed in wars... how could we ever have asked them to go?


lina said...

I don't even know where to start today.
Boys - lost in their own home. How often have we seen that look and just walked past? I promise to pay closer attention.
And how about the adult thing - I once hoped never to become one - seems mostly boring - but here we are - feeling every ache and pain of my____something years!
thanks for your beautiful words Dave!

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