“Why do you think people don’t start?”
“Lots of reasons,” I say.
I am watching you fiddle with the glass salt shaker. You are rocking it from one edge of its square bottom to the other. Rock-a-bye, baby, I think. But I am wanting to answer your question, so I push my amusement aside.
“You said that already.”
You rock the salt shaker again. It is making the tiniest glass noise. “You’re repeating yourself. I think maybe you need more protein this morning. I should make you an egg.”
“I would love an egg. Or a whole omelette. Cheddar cheese, please. But really, I meant to repeat myself.”
“You meant to repeat yourself? You are such a poet.”
“You knew that coming in. Morning-fresh book of poetry, return again.”
“And you are such a wonky poet. Always quoting Neruda, like you have him buttoned into your blouse.”
“I could quote someone else if you like. Do you prefer Anybody want a peanut? I hear the poet who wrote that is quite the rhymer. It could go with your rock-a-bye salt shaker.”
You give me your sideways look. The one that makes me laugh.
“Anyway. I meant to repeat myself. It’s like this: did you see the neighbor kids yesterday? They were outside just walking in circles. Not playing anything. No games. Just walking in circles. I was puzzled, but then I realized they were waiting for their mom.”
“So the neighbor kids made you repeat yourself? Or was it the neighbor kids’ mom? You could blame it on her. That’d be convenient.”
“I’m not blaming it on her, but I am blaming it on the constant motion of society.”
“You lost me. That sounds deep.”
“I am blaming it on how we educate our children. How we were educated. Always being moved from one thing to another. In the classroom. In life. Never time to really play and get lost. No incentive to start, because we know we’ll be stopped before we’re ready. I think it teaches us to give up. We learn not to care. We learn not to begin.”
“I know how to get lost.”
“Ha! Driving West when you should be driving East doesn’t count. Or maybe it does. Maybe you’ve got a deep psychological need to get lost.”
“I think you need more protein. I’m going to make you that omelette.”
“You can make me the omelette, but first…” I hand you the pepper shaker. “Make me some goal posts.”
“Put the salt and pepper shakers in front of you like a set of goal posts.”
You place the pair of shakers across from each other and across from me. I pick up a blueberry from our endless white bowl of blueberries and put it on the table.
Before you can say cheddar omelette, I flick the blueberry through your goal posts. “Score!” I laugh. And you impress me a great catch, as the berry flies towards your belly.
Now the game is on. We’re playing.
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