My childhood friend claimed the sky belonged to him. As we sat there on the lānai, looking out over the grounds, he suddenly said all the clouds, any birds flying around, and even all the blue were his.
He was always imaginative.
I asked about an airplane we could see taking off from the reef runway. He said yes. The only way it could escape would be when it landed. If it were even an inch above the ground, then it would be in the sky, so it was his until it touched down.
Birds, too, he said, if they came down on the ground or a tree branch, then they were free, but not while they were flying.
“The sun?” I asked.
“Stupid head,” he said, “of course. It’s in the sky, right?”
“What about nighttime?” I asked.
He said he owned the moon, the stars, all the planets, black holes, asteroids, space ships, space stations, satellites, all the planes, owls, or bats flying around.
“Anything off the ground, day or night, das mine.”
“What about if I jump off the ground?”
“You mine,” he said.
“Excuse me, sir,” the nurse said, coming over. “I need to take Mister Yamamoto in for his nap.”
I stood up, said I’d be back to visit soon, watched her wheel my childhood friend away.
There’s lots to hate getting old. When I think about it long and hard enough, except for retirement, there really isn’t anything good at all about old age.