Ravine

Ravine

A Chapter by Ana Papaya
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We didn't have much in the way of beautiful, tranquil escapes.

Not when you grow up an inner city child.

We had music drifting out onto the streets from the billiards on the Danforth, cars honking at pretty girls walking by.

The slaps of hockey sticks on Merrill Ave. with shouts of "Car!" to let old Mr. Simpson drive through. Always waving his hand like a zamboni driver clearing the road.

If I walked a bit further down memory lane I'd probably see our little gang of hoodlums playing tough with the kids from the other side of the tracks.

Shouting threats, without any real substance, nor any real swear words, because we knew we'd be hung up on the clothesline by our earlobes if our mommas caught us cursing.

I remember bugging the heck out of Johnny, before he knew what a big crush I had on him. Way back then.

We didn't have much in the way of beautiful, tranquil escapes.

Not when you grow up an inner city child.

But we had our little ravine at the end of West Lynne. That was our little escape.  Johnny and I would sneak off down there, pretending we were runaways living in the woods.

We would catch salamanders and toads, keeping them as pets in shoes boxes poked with breathing holes and lined with grass, leaves and twigs.

We built a little fort from old plywood and cardboard boxes.  With cut out windows, a door and a little flower garden to make it look more like a home.

Johnny and I would sit sipping Dr.Peppers while planning the places we'd go, what we'd do. We were dreaming.  Dreaming about making it "Big Time" one day.  

This was our little piece of paradise.

It was under this canopy of tall Maples and Pines, with the chirping of common grackles and blue jays; with rays of sunshine beaming down through the cracks between trees and leaves, that he told me he'd take care of me when he was older.

He couldn't do it right now, but one day, he would take me away.

I turned 12 in June, near the end of the school year.  The year my parents told me we'd be moving away at the end of the summer.

A new home, bigger, not a semi-detached house with loud neighbours and a tiny little square yard. A new school. New friends, they said

At the end of summer, Johnny and I spent our last day together in our little fort, planning. Where we'd go, what we'd do.

He'd come get me one day, after he finished school. Maybe get a job at the factory where his dad worked.

Then he kissed me. It was just a simple innocent kiss, but when his lips touched mine and lingered awhile I swear time stood still. And I swear that the ground shook under my feet from the beating of my heart but it was probably just my knees feeling wobbly.

We didn't have much in the way of beautiful, tranquil escapes.  Not when you grow up an inner city child.  But we had imagination.

I went back to our ravine years later and wandered along that same path. Remembering each adventure, the trees we used to climb, the pet salamanders and  the toads.

I heard our voices and the sound of our laughter and I remembered our fort.

And that kiss.  How it felt to imagine that happily ever after was possible.

~


© 2020 Ana Papaya


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A very descriptive walk down memory lane, Ana. I can relate to a few of your experiences; kicking balls on the street and moving for traffic, playing in the forest, hide and seek and much more. It reads well and creates a picture of a care-free happy youth. It is sad to revisit our old haunts once we have grown up and lost that childhood innocence, and you convey that sadness very well here. I enjoyed the story and the change of form. :))

Posted 10 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Ana Papaya

10 Months Ago

Hi Jamila, thank you for the thoughtful comment.
:)



Reviews

Oh, I almost forgot..... this image - "hung up on the clothesline by our earlobes". cracked me up! hahahahahaha! :) Well done.

Posted 10 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Ana Papaya

10 Months Ago

Thank you again. :) I threatened my kids with that line once. They didnt find it very funny. (:
What a beautiful sweet memory! The neighborhood I lived in when I was 12 was so similar, forts (from tract home construction scrap piles) , pollywogs & king snakes (instead of salamanders and toads), and many other details as well. It's your attention to detail that brought this to life for me: "sipping Dr.Peppers ", "old Mr. Simpson ", "lined with grass, leaves and twigs". Wonderfully written. Thanks for sharing.

Posted 10 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Ana Papaya

10 Months Ago

Thanks for popping in to read this, John. :)
Goad you can relate!
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A very descriptive walk down memory lane, Ana. I can relate to a few of your experiences; kicking balls on the street and moving for traffic, playing in the forest, hide and seek and much more. It reads well and creates a picture of a care-free happy youth. It is sad to revisit our old haunts once we have grown up and lost that childhood innocence, and you convey that sadness very well here. I enjoyed the story and the change of form. :))

Posted 10 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Ana Papaya

10 Months Ago

Hi Jamila, thank you for the thoughtful comment.
:)
That is lovely, a wonderful reminder
I have done the same, the going back to where there are now just memories
Personally I find it sad
Loved the Hockey in the streets with the 'car' yell
Done that a million times
Very nice Ana Papaya

Posted 10 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Ana Papaya

10 Months Ago

Thanks Dave.

That "car!" is such a Canadian thing I think.
My whole childhood .. read more
Dave Brown

10 Months Ago

fun days
dearest Ana... a sweet endearing adventure
that never leaves your heart. The tender pure
feelings when you depart. I think as we age,
those tender feelings return as pure as flowers
along a river bank. truly, Pat

Posted 10 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Ana Papaya

10 Months Ago

Thanks so much for your comment, Pat! :)
:)
That's gorgeous.
Adorable, and romantic, and sad.
A couple sweethearts. :)

Posted 10 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Ana Papaya

10 Months Ago

Thank you very much, Chocolate :)

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Added on September 8, 2020
Last Updated on September 8, 2020



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