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Be Happy It Happened At All

Wise words from an unreal doctor are no less relevant in adulthood and in a foreign city and at 5:48am.

Be happy it happened at all, not sad it is over.

Or something in that vein.

But try selling that platitude to a boy who has seen his favorite kind of truck from his elevated backseat perch; rose red and gleaming in sun and streetlight, a glittering gem in a world of dusty pebbles.

For an unreasonably long swath of highway, stretching from day into night, the truck was by his side, out his window, right there! It rode shotgun to his captain, or the other way around.

The boy’s heart screamed at him, saying that if he really wanted to he could reach out for it, but even a silly young boy knows that glass and wind and the sheer speed of it all makes such a thing an impossibility. The mind always wins. And it’s (not always but more often than not) for the best. In the moment though, and in the immediate aftermath, it rarely ever feels that way.

Curiously, the boy didn’t long to be inside the truck or, to be fair, even touch it, save for maybe a right hand pointer finger run gently along it’s polished chrome trim. He wished only to see it up close, on flat blacktop on a lingering summer’s day; to be, for as long as physically possible, in its cool shadow on one side, locked in the sunlight it reflects on the other.

Kids don’t appreciate time. It’s not their fault. Time is a complication of life and takes living more of it to even begin to grasp. Appreciation of the time granted us takes longer, takes running out of it. One of the blessed curses of existence.

The truck could have been alongside him for an hour or seven, and he’d still have wailed and developed a stuffy nose when it pulled away in the left lane or fell behind at one of the many toll booths scattered along this route.

Be happy it happened at all, son, for what you bore witness to was unreasonable magic; a favorite thing, a source of immense joy, alongside you for longer than would seem plausible in any other place, on any other day and night and nearly day again.

The boy is far from New Orleans now, on a ship, surrounded by friendly-faced strangers but no trucks at all. He’s at a reading of Horton Hears A Who, but what he’s thinking about this morning is the fading dream of the unobtainable spotless rose red truck he once kept distant company with, not the Mayor of Whoville or a speck of dust or a pretend doctor or any of these people cresting like waves around him.

He’s trying to be happy it happened but he’s failing.

He is still just a boy.

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  1. As always, you hit me right in the feels my friend. I feel everything about this.

  2. So you so much for reading and for the kind words, Mike. I’m glad I could take you back there with me and make you feel it as well.

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