The warmth of childhood. He loves playing, learning, laughing. At such a young age, he doesn’t know what bad really feels like. The worst thing that’s happened to him is scraping his knee. His mom kisses it better. He goes on his way and continues playing, learning, laughing.
He pauses only to hear his mom is having another kid. He shrugs at the news. Better hope it’s a brother! He feels no different and continues playing, learning, laughing.
The baby is born and it’s a girl. Mom is gone for a while and when she comes home she ignores him. He feels a little cooler. He continues playing, learning, laughing.
Life has gotten warmer again. He decides the sister is okay and things feel normal. They’re playing, learning, laughing together.
Mom disappears and dad doesn’t seem happy. The boy stops for a moment and sees his little sister still playing, learning, laughing and decides that’s what he should do, too.
Dad takes them to a tiny home somewhere. No more playing, learning, laughing right now. They’re told by mom and dad that this is where mom will live from now on. His sister looks sad. They’re told to go play, but neither of them want to. They sit. He feels cold.
Through the years he was supposed to grow and be a great athlete. He seems grey and skinny. No one knows how he will continue playing, learning, laughing. Chronic illness is discovered. It’s cold today and he has to put on many layers to cover up his frail frame. He’s playing video games because he can’t play sports, learning how to manage his chronic illness, laughing few and far between.
It’s been a few years. Chronic illness is managed but still there. Dad is happier because he found someone, but she’s mean to the boy and his sister. He tries playing, learning, but not really laughing.
More years pass. He has his first real girlfriend. They do everything together. Puppy love. Sweethearts. It’s warm until he walks in on her doing what she promised to only do with him. Life is cold. He is only learning now.
He’s in college and out and somewhere in between. The future is promised but sometimes taken away. It’s tug of war. Back and forth. He’s playing the game of life and learning all the time. If he drinks enough he might be laughing.
He’s freezing cold and waiting for something to light a fire in him again. He’s hoping he doesn’t get so cold that he cracks.