Ode to the Young and the Free / by Emily Busch


The 2 year old who I watch broke my necklace the other day. I saw it coming. He wanted to see it and I knew it would fall victim and I accepted its fate ahead of time. Then, the dropping of heavy glass beads on wooden flooring, the attempt to scoop up the beads rolling as fast as pinballs. Hanging out with kids, there is something about the little hands of toddlers half resting on yours as you read to them stories made by adults for the little heads of those hands. But then also the resistance, the no, no, no. Mornings of these kind of movements of time are somewhat like the varying segments of classical pieces with their lulled string parts then thwacks and cracks and shrieks. All of this inside before leaving the door and entering the neighborhood.

I handed the postal worker my package underneath the bullet proof glass. He looked at the return address with a kind of say it ain't so disgust and said, "Tell me your name isn't Barbara!" I knew exactly where he was going with it, him assuming my name was Barbara Bush. I said "So I don't share the same last name, if you can see on the envelope my name is with a C but why was it you asked?" He replied "Well, that would of been a curse!". The man set about wanting to make me more aware of a plague on my name that wasn't actually my name. It was slightly distracting but like so much when your taking care of a small child it remains this peripheral moment of adult awkwardness.

I left and walked out onto the street carrying this attempted curse on top of the stroller with all of the other things I had with me. Bottles, snack paks, a trash picked double vinyl of Artie Shaw, and lots of small rocks filling up a back pouch like some practice in modern day sisaphism. An older woman with a grocery cart and big straw hat passed like a projected prism of my future self. "There will always be things and the carrying of them" I thought to myself as we shifted our weights around each other in the passing.This neighborhood is being busted apart and huge holes of earth are everywhere. Active and sleeping Japanese named construction machinery lines the streets. It's this little boy's dream. Being at this stage in which there is hardly any back context for him he can just bask in the sheer delight of movement and noise. I admire his joy but know too much. Still I try to align myself so it can be a group effort.

We ramble around, our journey dotted with practicality and absurdity as it always seems to be when spending time with a 2 year old. He is old enough now to know the thrift store and when we are passing it and that inside its core is a place/space that keeps the toys. We go in there and tinker with them like its our workshop. In new stores you can't tinker, you can't have the spit second of jolt to your heart when you discover the batteries still work in the grubby keyed rainbow colored key-tar. He goes right for the construction vehicles. Plops on the floor with no mind to shopping cart widths. I see the mask on the top shelf. The exaggerated rubber caricature style mask that I forever associate now with the movie Point Break. The kind of mask that you see lining the shelves of those year round Halloween shops in some strip mall on a road between here and there. Someone jimmy-rigged it with garter sequins like a flapper's tacky headdress. "Hey look at this!" I grabbed it in my hands. He stared up blankly. "Will you wear this?" I asked, but the mask was many times too large even with the elastic band.

I slowly brought the mask of George W. to his head and strung it on him as it slipped and faced backwards as he ran away goofily. The days serendipity was lost to him. He was again strutting that jolly swagger of lack of past, where objects are objects and associations and stranger's curses are dessimated in the glory of the young and the free.