Playing Well Together

2018.07.05-play-well

The basket was about half-emptied out on to the floor, but the floor itself, in fact the entire room, was empty. The party kept shifting, and he tried to keep up — that sort of thing you did at parties when you weren’t in costume and it wasn’t your place to host and it was the afternoon and if you weren’t a child you were waiting for the darkness, or waiting for something. And he was alone, for a moment, and surveyed.

Then he sat down — cross legged — and leaned over onto the carpet and began to collect the bricks, maybe even in a form of time-travel into a second childhood, one that came with a side-effect of back ache. To be that limber and closer to the floor, he would have wished for.

The adult party shifted back into the house, as the children were outside in the water, their feet and shirts soaked. A few of the adults, after a few minutes, sat on their knees across from him and noodled around but didn’t seem to get anywhere with or without instructions. Around that time he’d begun measuring for Betsy Ross, first two by fours and then also the two by eights that he’d always really enjoyed how they felt, like a real piece of lumber might — and then that one four by six of navy was just about right, if he didn’t try to be so literal about it.

If he didn’t try so hard with all of the talking and allowed himself to be quiet.

The talking adults left and then the children from the water outside had grown tired and all sat on their shins and when he asked them what they wanted to build, the first one said “cars” and then they all wanted cars. Of course they wanted cars. He retrieved all of the tires he could find in the basket, abstracting a junk yard scene from the rubber without hubs, the audience of four in front of him noodling and bricking with more intensity than the adults (although still not as focused as he was).

He could make a car, too, he thought, once everyone else had axels and figures to steer them.

And what a funny car it turned out to be, taking the piece in a different direction entirely. It could even, maybe, be about something.

And that without the listening part, the playing well together, or at least the playing along, it wouldn’t have been come together like that at all. Something for the parade in his mind, something for the Lego Playa.

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