The Splash Pad
The water shoots out, sending an arc over his head. He reaches up on tippy toes to touch it, his fingers grazing the cool wetness. He sees his dad headed towards him so he runs the opposite way, stomping through the puddles in his path. Warnings of “don’t run” swim past his ears, but he ignores them and runs faster. He runs and runs and runs in a circle until he is dizzy with excitement. His shoes squeak and squish as they fill with water and make his feet slip inside. He falls, lands hard on his bottom - the concrete below the only thing to catch his fall and steal the breath from his lungs. Determined, he stands back up. A little boy runs by, grabs his hand, and leads him to another spout that hits him in the face. Water is in his nose and in his eyes and in his mouth and he laughs at the sting of it and tries to push it away. His hand slipping through and the water keeps stinging and he keeps laughing. He runs to follow the boy, and the weight of his clothes slow him down ,his shorts slip, the waistband around his thighs, his diaper swollen to three times its size. He loses sight of the boy and waddles to the picnic table where his mom sits. She hands him a piece of buttered toast, one of his favorite dishes. He smashes the thing into his mouth and reaches out, demanding another. As she hands it to him he’s distracted by a water spout close by and the toast slips and lands in a puddle, sending concentric waves outward as it soaks up the water around it, growing soggy. He stomps on the gooey squishiness of it, forcing it between his toes, across the sole of his foot. He wants more so he shouts and juts out an open palm, “ma,ma,ma.” His mom obliges, then quickly grabs him, strips his wet clothes and diaper, and changes him into something dry and warm. He wiggles and rocks and pounds the picnic bench with his heels, fighting time, and the sunset, and the inevitable moment of going home.