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Creative Corner

“Sweet Learning” by Henry May

Sweet Learning

As the sky begins to turn dark, the air gets colder. Summer is almost at its end with the weather changing, mainly teetering on the edge of fall. It’s not exactly warm but you couldn’t call it cold either; a nice balance to where I don’t feel uncomfortable to sit outside in my black shorts. By the time my dad had grabbed the fire wood and placed it inside the pit, the sun was setting with only small traces of a soft orange and pink that would soon become all royal blue. Cool nights were perfect opportunities for my dad to set up a fire pit. He never really told me why he made them, patrially for the intention of family time where we sit around the fire and stare down at our phones while the harsh heat warms our feet. He spends more time outside alone than not. Part of me thinks that he uses it to relax but he still doesn’t look happy while doing it. For once, I could at least spend some time alone with him.

I laid my bare feet on the concrete ground, each step I take is careful to avoid any small pebbles. The soles of my feet get progressively dirty the more steps I take from the side of the house towards the back yard. Dad has a few chairs sat out with no one sitting at them. He’s hunched over in his chair, eyes scan across the fire that crackles and sparks. Only thing other than the fire making noise was a radio put on some music station in the garage that plays strictly rock music from the 80’s. He does notice my presence as I sit down next to him. Despite being quiet, he pulls up a smile on his face to strike up a conversation; saying how lovely it was tonight.

“I don’t get why you’re out here.” I said “Everyone would rather be inside than out here. Perfect weather or not.”. It may have been rude to start off saying something like that, but I just really wondered what this was all about. There had to be a reason for it. With no words his smile dropped slightly, the metal cup in his right hand switched off to the left and gestured it out to me “Take a sip.”. The cup smelled of strong alcohol that he mixed in with fruit punch; a drink that he made on occasion, I was too young to drink fully but sips here and there are allowed. I took the cup that had felt freezing to the touch in my palm and brought it up to my lips to drink. “With or without family, this is nice. Yeah, I do wish you guys would come out here but this is sort of…therapeutic in a way for me. Staying inside and watching TV doesn’t make me feel good. I get depressed around this time of year. This is just one of the things that keeps me from getting upset.”.

I didn’t turn my head to look at him, I just glanced over while handing the cold cup back to him. “So it’s a coping mechanism?… If so, then how come it doesn’t on me?.. Since we both get that way.” I asked, to which my dad sighed in response “Honey, we have different personalities. None of us cope the same way. I’m more seasonal, you have it more often than I do. I know you like to draw and listen to music, perhaps those are yours. Only you can understand and adapt to it.” His head fully turned towards me, the fire only shining half of his face that tinted his glasses where you could see his eyes vaguely. It makes me sad looking at him this way, I see myself in him. I share more of personality and facial features with him than my mother, it’s like a mirror in a way. “It’s hard. I want you to get better and all I want to do it help you realize it.” He put his hand on my shoulder, covering it whole with just the palm of it “I love you, honey, please don’t forget that.”

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