Saturday, December 11, 2010

Boy in the Window

He was sitting there in the window of a store in downtown Ellicott City. Off the beaten path--but there he was: blond hair, 4 years old or so with a precocious grin on his face accompanied by his dog--a cute black and white border collie.

The building was old, painted white with green shutters and some gardens in front of it and so I was able to watch his antics from a short distance away. I surmised that his parent--probably mother, was inside shopping and he, like me, was bored with the entire shopping experience. I have no idea how long he had been shopping, but I had been on the expedition for only about 15 minutes and we were fortifying ourselves with coffee, but the entirety of the shopping "event" was yet in front of me.

I was with two of my grandsons, Ethan and Jax, but I could relate to the young boy in the window who was amusing himself lost in his own world of imagination oblivious to the passers-by who noticed him.

I was standing in a garden drinking my too-hot coffee while the rest of the group finished up inside. I was thinking I was gonna need a restroom in a couple minutes if I really drank all of the coffee. It was early autumn and the air was brisk, but not yet cold. The roses in the garden retained their full bloom--reds and yellows graced the walk in front of the buildings cast off to the side of the parking lot.

Then the boy saw me watching him. He hid his face, playfully and then peaked back to see if I was still observing his antics.

I stared unabashedly at him and smiled allowing him to see that I was not being judgemental nor disapproving of his activity. Recognizing this, he resumed his play and ignored me. Which was fine. I was losing myself in my own thoughts and he was the catalyst transporting my mind to another place and time.

Ethan strolled out of the coffee shop right at that moment and we began conversing about the day and the flowers and the cold. Ethan too, was already bored with the idea of hours of shopping ahead of us. I soon forgot about the boy and his dog--except--

I wished that it was me playing in the corner of a store window uncaring of the world around me and lost in my own imagination. And you know what? I remember doing almost that exact same thing in a downtown Ithaca, NY shoe store when I was four (without the dog). And for a moment, I could even smell again the strong odor of the stains used to color shoes coming from the back room of the store.

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