My mom has been away for a few days, so I've been taking care of her house. It isn't hard, I just bring in the mail and water the plants. The hardest part is getting there. I would just rather be going somewhere else I guess. This evening though I decided to make the trip to mom's house my entire evening's activity. I grabbed a book, my mp3 player and I started walking. Along the way I read, I sat on the grass in a couple parks, I bought a cold drink to sip along the way, and I chatted on the phone with some friends. Basically I just enjoyed the evening over the course of a 15 kilometre walk.
A block from mom's I had to pass by my ex-friend Rob's parent's house - this is where Rob currently lives. As I walked by I had a few minutes to wonder what he was up to these days. I wondered where he was in life, if he has a girlfriend, if he is working, if he is happy... It seems weird that as a kid I wasn't supposed to knock when I visited, I was told to walk right in, but now as adults I'm completely shut out. He hasn't spoken to me in a civil tone in almost three years.
I gave up on wondering what he was up to because my attention shifted to some of the things we used to do as kids. It was probably about 22 years ago that we used to play a game called "Slingshot vs Pellet Gun". It was a game a lot like hide and seek, but once you found the person... well, the goal of the game was pretty simple: the first one to shoot the other player wins.
We weren't that dumb though. We didn't actually shoot each other, we'd just shoot near each other. Still... more than once I heard the sound of a pellet as it whizzed too too close past my ear. This particular night though we called the game without a winner because we had some unexpected players show up.
It was snowing that night, probably the first snow of the year. I gave Rob a head start and shortly after I went looking for him. According to our rules, you could go anywhere you wanted on the block I lived on, and I mean anywhere. It is only a city block, but when you consider the back alley, the front yards, back yards, up trees and on top of buildings, this is a pretty big area. Luckily it was proving easy to follow Rob's tracks in the freshly fallen snow.
I followed cautiously. Rob was crafty and it would have been just like him to backtrack down his own tracks, jump off in some other direction, and wait behind a garbage can until I walked by. When I saw his tracks stop at a fence, it took me a minute or two to determine it was safe for me to approach. I looked over the top of the fence and saw that Rob had climbed it, and then walked balance-beam style down the length of it between two yards.
I did my best to walk on top the fence too, and I saw his tracks move to the roof of a shed, and from the shed on to a garage. I went where they led, up over the crest of the garage roof. When I looked over I saw the tracks went halfway down the other side, then it looked like he sat down and creeped towards the edge so that he didn't slip and fall off.
I again followed until I was sitting on the edge of the garage with my feet dangling down. I saw tracks 10 feet below indicating Rob had jumped off and ran down the block. I guess I didn't notice there were several sets of tracks going off in the same direction because I was too busy making sure Rob wasn't waiting in ambush. Suddenly I heard people coming out the front door of the house that was attached to the garage I was sitting on.
I looked over and saw three men standing on the doorstep looking up at me. One of them pointed and said, "There he is again!!" One of the others said, "Get him!"
I jumped off and ran like the wind. They came after me, but thankfully my Slingshot vs Pellet Gun experience meant I had the home-field advantage and it didn't take long to lose them. I went a round-a-bout way back to my house and found Rob there waiting for me. We decided we should just stay in and play video games rather than end up in another foot chase with angry neighbours.
I didn't win our game that night, but I ended up with a pretty good memory. I'm glad. Rob doesn't talk to me anymore, so memories like that are all I've got.