Aye Useta

I used to think that a playground in wintertime, with swings frozen in place by crystal stalactites and glacial flos ebbing down slides, was one of the saddest places I had seen. I used to until I saw empty playgrounds on a warm spring day.

I used to think that traffic was cumbersome, a constant drone filling the air as noxiously as the exhaust from those same vehicles, and waiting in my van while I crawl along to my job or home or to do anything was worse than torture. I used to, until the road stretched lazily in front of me without another car for miles. 

I used to hate going out and dealing with crowds and people, feeling the crush of their voices, their worries, their ignorance press upon me and I longed for the sanctuary of my home and family. I used to until the crowds were gone, with people crossing plazas to distance themselves from each other.

I used to hate the daily grind and rush of sleep, commute, work, commute, kids, dinner, bedtime and resent that I’d never have enough time to work on what I wanted, that each day would be a busy crush blurring the lines of one day into the next. I used to, until doing nothing stretched each day into weeks, each one the same, and still what I wanted did not get done, along with anything else.

I used to get annoyed at the apathy of many of my students, at their lack of interest in most anything I planned for them, for their education, for themselves in general and I questioned why they bothered to show up at all if they were just going to sit there and do nothing. I used to until those same students started showing up to check in online, because finally school was the escape they longed for.

I used to tell my children I would do things later, that I was too busy, and that maybe we could do something on the weekend, sending them away to find escape in their imagination or a device. I used to, until weekends didn’t exist anymore and I again found delight in cardboard boxes, rides around the block, and game nights.

I used to do many things, until I couldn’t and now I can’t wait to not do them again.

Photo by Sophia Curet

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