“At some point in your childhood, you and your friends went outside to play together for the last time and nobody knew it”
I read the quote above from an anonymous source yesterday (And it’s also been accredited to the movie The Sandlot) and was absolutely moved by it. It spoke to something deep within me. Especially on a day I had just found a bunch of my old class pictures, assignments and report cards from grade school.
We grew up way too fast in my neighborhood. Our innocence died at a tragically young age, along with our childhood. Sure we still went out but it wasn’t to play and it was all so far from a game.
We traded in the games for forty ounces of shockingly cheap malt liquor and drank them at the football field of the high school we were all destined for but hadn’t yet reached.
Our friends became everything to us, our whole world. We only knew a six block radius and that was all we needed to know as far as we were concerned.
When I think back on those moments it brings a bittersweet smile to my face. Sweet because of all the fun we had doing things we shouldn’t have been, yet bitter because they’re over and went by way too fast. I don’t know if we appreciated them or each other as much as we should have.
I’ve made a million and one mistakes in my short thirty years on this earth. My regrets are very few though because with every mistake was a memory made as well as a lesson learned. The only place true wisdom comes from is experience.
I met the girl of my dreams when I was twelve years old. I knew she was it. I was certain she was handcrafted by God himself for me personally. In my eyes, she was absolutely perfect.
I saw no flaws. I saw innocence, compassion and love. She was my best friend and if I’m being honest, until this day she may know me better than anyone on this entire earth does. I let her all the way in. I laughed with her and cried not only in front of her but in her arms once or twice.
I knew all she wanted from me was for me to be me, the problem was I didn’t know who I was yet. I was a young and stupid kid. I don’t beat myself up for things that happened back then but that doesn’t mean I don’t wish things didn’t happen or end differently.
To think I even thought I knew what love was back then is comical. Some seventeen years later, I’m still not certain I know what it is. However, I can say if I do know what it is, it’s because of her. She taught me what it was and meant to care more about someone else than you do about yourself.
I’ve been blessed enough to experience that feeling twice in my life and it’s the closest thing to being in love I’ve come to know.
The irony of sitting here writing a story about how quick we all grew up is knowing how slowly most of us matured. There is a vast difference between the two. Back then, we were certain we knew everything. We had it all figured out and never wasted an opportunity to let everyone know it. We were so far from being children yet even further from being grown.
If only someone had let us know the last time we went out to play, was the last time we’d ever go out to play again, perhaps we would have asked our parents for just ten more minutes before going back in.