Reaching for the clouds

A very small boy ran past me today as I was walking to the market.

“Bok!” he said over his shoulder, as his little legs propelled him forward at a cracking pace.

“Bok,” I said back.

A few moments later, his mother ran past, wheezing a little and holding her phone out in front of her like a wand. She followed him as he ran into the gates of the preschool.

I guess he really likes preschool.

hooray for preschool

I have only one memory of preschool. I am sitting on the swings. Two girls are also there. One is sitting on a swing, and the other girl is pushing her. Up and up she goes, her small body propelled upwards.

“Will you give me a push, too?” I ask. “Will you?”

“No,” says the pushing girl.

I feel very acutely at that moment that I am an outsider. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s my first day. Maybe I’m not a regular – perhaps I usually go to a different daycare? I don’t know. I just know that I am not wanted there.

I could cry.

I watch the girl being pushed on the swing, and I see that she is sticking her legs out on the way up, up, to get more lift, and tucks her legs in on the way down, down, to rush faster to the ground, and I think – I could do that. I sit on my swing. I stick my legs out and I curl them back up. Stick them out and curl them back up. And slowly, ever so slowly, I start to swing.


I bet that if I were 3 years old again, and I went to that boy’s preschool, he would totally push me on the swing.

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Nat Newman

Nat Newman is an award-winning writer of short stories, content, podcasts, feature articles, drunk text messages and, soon, a novella.


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