When I was a little kid six or seven years old, I had a friend who lived around the corner and being an only child whose parents both worked–and like any kid– in constant search of fun and adventure, I frequently ventured over to my friend’s house every chance I could get. He had four or five older brothers and there was ALWAYS something fun happening over there.
One day, when I went over there to play, his mother and two of his brothers confronted me in an accusatory manner.
“Why did you cut up our garden hose?”
It was an odd question. “What–? What are you talking about”,” I responded.
His mother said, “But, Ricky, we SAW you do it!”
What WAS somewhat troubling is, (although I didn’t share this thought with them at the time) was that I DID have a vague image in my mind of a transparent green garden hose, all coiled up, with air bubbles circulating in an oddly- fascinating way through it. Even now, after all these years, I can easily picture that hose quite clearly in my mind. It was the same hose that we used to stream water across the red tile front porch of their house– to make it slick and slippery. Then we would slide across the porch on the water only to be saved from grievous injury by the ornate iron railings. The question haunts me still. Why would I purposely destroy something which was crucial to such fun? It didn’t make sense!
Yet there they were—staring silently at me with their accusing freckled faces, expecting an explanation, waiting for my admission of guilt or some kind of confession. Seconds passed like hours.
Thinking back on it, I do recall that when the water was turned on, little air bubbles circulated quickly, ‘round and ‘round in the coiled-up hose, for five or ten seconds before the water came out.
But I can’t believe I would have actually showed up at their house with a butcher knife in hand, and then, finding no one home, proceeded to bend down with the knife and cut up their garden hose into little green wet pieces!
Yet, I have to admit, there was something really fascinating about those air bubbles and the way they went round and round, faster and faster. Something cosmic almost, something which might unlock answers about the universe. Things a kid like me wanted to understand!
Thinking back on it now, through the decades of passing time, it occurs to me, if I HAD done such a thing, why didn’t they call my parents to report the offense? Surely that would have been a logical way to address the problem.
Yet, to my knowledge, no call was ever made.
True, I did have total free access to the drawer in our kitchen in which the knives and other cooking utensils were kept– and there was nothing stopping me from opening it and going out the back door, through our backyard, across the lane, through the neighbor’s gate, up their driveway, down the street for a hundred feet to the lawn and then getting down on my hands and knees and slowly forcing the dull blade of the knife through the soft green transparent rubber into those beautifully-moving bubbles that were trying to escape.
As I think of this, I can still almost feel the resistance at first, as I pressed down– and then, the sudden giving ‘way of the rubber, as the blade cut through to the other side– and cut into the blades of grass underneath.
If they were watching me do this, why didn’t they come running out of their house yelling , “What are you DOING?” Why remain inside looking at me through a window and say nothing until the next time I came over to their house– and then confront me– like I was some kind of juvenile delinquent?
And where was the hose I supposedly cut up now….? Where was the evidence?
Yet, why would they deliberately make up such a preposterous story?
Did I really cut up their hose– or was my friend’s mother lying? She had once told me my mother called and asked me to go home. I knew when I heard this that in the unlikely event that my mother had called (she never called me there) she would have expressed her wishes concerning my whereabouts directly to me and not a third party.
In every life, many such mysteries remain, unanswered, haunting our minds like unwelcome guests, slowly dimmed by the passage of time and amplified by the power of imagination.
And, about which, we may never know the truth.