This used to be my playground
There used to be a park where I would often go when I was growing up. It was a small place, nudged next to some grocery stores in a ghetto part of town, very different from some of the other, more spectacular parks in the city. (The place I grew up in is famously referred to as the City of
It was a small park, like I said, a modest plot of land thoughtfully converted into a playground. It had a slide and a seesaw, a large carousel that tipped dangerously at high speeds. There may once have been grass for kids to roll around in but by the time I got there what remained was a close green stubble, tramped down by a daily swarm of flip-flopped children whose mothers had also miraculously run out of bread or beetroots. A stream ran through the park, populated with large cobblestones, which, in the night, made it look like an alligator was lurking in the water, waiting to bite your thigh off. A dainty little bridge ran over the stream from which I used to watch vigilantly for its movements. Of course, the alligator never did move. It knew it was being watched.
A few years ago they tore the park down. The rides were dismantled and taken away, the stream dug up and an apartment block installed in its place. The ground floor is a department store selling low-priced, imported garments. Children go there now with their parents but there is no laughter any more. Only the sound of flip-flops slapping on cold tile floors.