For the times we live in....
NOTE: A little darker story today
Jackson stood on the playground and looked all around. Weeds sprouted up from every conceivable crack in the concrete and in between the wood chips near the equipment. He knew what it meant: no kids, and no kids meant the playground was wasting away.
There was nothing wrong with the equipment or the playground, nothing at all. When the City purchased it, it came with all the latest safety enhancements. After the City installed the equipment, the company guaranteed each piece for 20 years, that is, if the City maintained it.
But it was all for naught as the merry-go-round remained still, the monkey bars collected complex spider webs, and the weeds began to envelop the mulch and wood chips. Maintenance contracts had not been renewed since the playground had been associated with a mass stabbing four years before. In all, 9 children were murdered and another 7 were wounded.
Even four years after the event, curious out-of-town visitors wanted to see the playground that caused so much media attention for weeks. The more morbid among the visitors tried to identify the blood stains on the concrete and equipment, but those were bleached clean.
The flowers from the thousands who came to pay their respects no longer lined the fences. Jackson wondered why the City hadn’t razed the entire site, but he suspected some might consider it sacred ground, an area only to be remembered as a scheme of three evil men meting out vengeance on innocent children.
But Jackson was no longer sad about the event. Anger was a more fitting term. The perps all got 2-5 years because of legal technicalities during initial questioning.
Justin, his 10-year-old, still had physical and emotional scars from the event. The nightmares and flashbacks remained despite the passage of time. Six at the time, Justin would not soon forget what happened that day, often reliving parts of it in the middle of the night.
For Jackson, the weeds were a reminder of how bitterness and resentment creep into an otherwise peaceful life. While he couldn’t change the past, he could change how he lived now. Justin and his siblings needed Jackson to be a peaceful loving father and a devoted husband to their mother.
The weeds had to go. The perps would do their time, but they awaited a more perfect judgement.