The Future Out There
“Higher, higher.” Kali giggles her request.
“That´s right, baby, you will go high. I want you to dream big. Mommy will be there with you,” Angela says more to herself as she pushes the metal seat of the playground’s swing.
When it returns she asks, “What do you want to be when you grow up? A pilot? Girls can do that now. Maybe an astronaut.” Her words pull toward the sky. Her arms, straight, waiting for her baby to come back. She pushes harder, making sure she does not step on the broken bottles at her feet. The jig-sawed rubber mat gives as she steps and rocks into the motion.
With each heave Kali lets out a squeal. A morning sound so welcome after the loud night sounds of guns firing, dice rolling, and mouths swearing.
“Mommy, I think a ballet dancer.” Kali says, her voice trailing off as she rises, but Angela hears it. She makes a mental note to check into dance lessons down at the “Y”. Every little girl should take some dance lessons. Get some grace and poise.
She suddenly remembers that Coward´s shoe store down on Fulton had ballet slippers, pink ones. “I´m a get my baby a pair with tights and a tutu to match.” Again, she speaks her thought so softly that only she hears.
Angela looks out over the chain link fence that had not been painted since she was a small girl. How many times had she sat on either of the benches with her notebook, a stone table between them decorated with a checkerboard formed from light and dark shades of inlaid stone for the red and black boxes of the game. She wrote stories and poems, she drew images of the house she wanted to live in, including the white picket fence; an airplane to take her to Hollywood, Paris, or London. Then, like now, she sees all the possibilities. Only now she is dreaming for two and this time the future out there would be had.
“Maybe go to college, the university, then decide. You could do that.” Angela says, continuing with her list of options. “You tell me, LiLi. What else you want to be?” she asks, pushing with such force that the long-legged girl seems to disappear into a cloud. “Let Mommy hear it.”