There’s a sign I’ve been meaning to read that is posted on my apartment complex that’s meant to be read as we pull into the parking lot. For people with normal vision. So, on a whim, I went and read the sign. It told me of another section of this apartment building and where to park if you want to visit those apartments. Apartments 41-60. I’ve seen a row or two of apartments down below (we live on a hill) that look like ours from our window. And I remembered a staircase I’ve been meaning to poke my head in, so I followed it. The stairs are crumbling and not in very good repair, so I’m assuming no one but the maintenance guy, Raoul, and I use it or someone would have complained. It felt like the Secret Garden all over again. And sure enough, I found a waterfall-rivery thing surrounded by trees that I wouldn’t have found hadn’t Raoul walked down the stairs after me and pointed them out. “There’s lots of fish in there,” he said. And indeed there are. It’s fenced in because I’m sure someone fell in once upon a time and hurt themselves, and it’s all covered in leaves and branches because it’s winter, but it’s in the same state the willow tree and pool are in directly outside my apartment, so I’m sure Raoul will do yardwork when he’s sure winter is gone for good. It was quiet, except for a lady manuevering a stroller who greeted me and for the shouts of the kids who go to school and play at the Baptist church next to our apartment complex. We can hear the echoes of their playing from our apartment in the summer, but I could never figure out where it came from other than the general direction of the church. I discovered that this hidden-away portion of the complex is right next to a playground that had, when I poked my head around, lots of kids playing in it. It’s separated only by a chain-link fence, so I stood there at the railing in front of someone’s apartment and watched them play. I could hear the echoes of a dog barking somewhere there and people talking and conversing in front of the church, but I couldn’t see it because a building was in the way, and I was really only there for the kids. I only left when two girls swinging on swings nearest me noticed me watching them.
It really does feel like the Secret Garden; I’m bringing Just’In back on one of our lazy, warm days to watch the kids. Can you just imagine the two of us, standing there, dreaming?