By Colin Heaney
Lush green spills peridots over the fields of delight, and the children dance and play and echo ruminations of joy. Daniel stands at the crest of the hill, hands in his pockets, eyeing with an envious eye, watching with a watcher’s watch, scolding with a lecturer’s scorn. The pickpocketed sun taunts his isolation and from some dim cavern his parents’ voices hold weight; beasts of hatred. He lowers himself, crouching, hands still salvaged in his khaki pants.
“It goes like this, Patricia.” The girl twirls, invoking merry go round polka dots.
“Tag! You’re it!”
“You can be Spider-Man, I’ll be Batman.”
And who was Daniel? He snatched at the grass, at those little hairs of viridescent beauty. His hands plucked and plucked and a tempestuous onslaught of tears rocked the boat of his disposition. They fell; they landed; they were swallowed by the dirt.
The other kids, lost in the harmony of playfulness, paid no heed. Daniel was out of earshot, and beyond their eyes and thoughts. He was a shade enveloped in the fog of a Victorian graveyard. He might as well have been in the clouds. But this was not to be his homestead, so he tore tufts from the earth. The earth that neglected him, tossed him, abandoned him to lonely solitude. He was making good progress, watching as green waves parted to reveal the filthy under-layer: the real world.
He would have continued if not for a hand in flight, a hand that landed on his bony shoulder. He peered around.
Moonstone eyes sparked the flint of existence. “Hey, I’ve seen you around before. What’s your name?”
Daniel swallowed bitter stones. “Daniel…”
The boy offered his hand. “C’mon. You can be Green Goblin.”
The clouds danced away on the ballroom sky, and the trees shook in merriment. The voices carried all afternoon.