Monday, March 5, 2007

Tiny biplanes appeared in the skies

Tiny biplanes appeared in the skies above the courtyard, flying long, slow sorties just beneath the branches of the spreading maple. So far as anyone knew, no biplanes had ever been sighted there before. They were very small, no more than eight inches in length, and had emerged just that morning from the nativity of their box. They had come not as biplanes at all, or so the instructions would indicate. But the boy, too young for legos anyway, had no patience for tedious instructions. These white and grey and red atoms of joy became rough-hewn flying machines in his tinkering hands, piloted by white knights of the sky visible only to the eyes of imagination.

Other toys made their sojourn to this courtyard, too, along with books about dinosaurs and pads of drawing paper. The boy visited here often, staying with his grandmother in a small apartment where she lived alone. Her door and six others formed a ring around that soft floor of green where the boy played. Sometimes he would visit his grandmother's neighbors, all venerable folk in their gowns and slippers, all smiles and shining eyes. He could not remember them ever leaving the cozy doorways which looked out upon that small green world.

In the coming year, his infant sister would crawl upon that lush grass. Years after that, before it would ever see their home, the boy and his sister would bring their newly purchased guinea pig to that courtyard and set it free upon that garden of greens. And they would laugh, because it never moved more than a step from its cage, but rather sat and chewed, content there, the wide courtyard a world larger than it could imagine.

One narrow walk leads away from the courtyard, away from the solemn apartments, to the blacktop where the muscular Chevelle broods. It belonged to his grandmother, but now it only waits. It will not be long until the boy pilots that rough-forged iron machine to a nervous young woman's house, and there beneath the moon kiss her awkwardly, eagerly.

The grandmother is gone now. In the passing years, what strange feet have crossed that quiet courtyard of grass, what faces lurk behind the doors that guard it? No biplanes brave the skies beneath that spreading maple. The boy is grown, and the biplanes wait in the mind of his daughter. Perhaps this time they will be born anew not as biplanes at all, but delicate flying horses or glittering fairies visible only to the eyes of imagination.

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