• Vol. 02
  • Chapter 05
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Do Not Trust the Donkey

The trick is not to look at the donkey with a handle for its tail. It has been put there to deceive, to convince passersby that they recognise such a familiar thing as childhood. They think of balloons, long afternoons spent in the park, the taste of birthday cake on their tongues. But if you cast your vision further out and gaze at the periphery, you will see adulthood looming with its wrought-iron fences, and vehicles taking you to and from work, making doctor’s appointments and getting back before the kids come home.

The donkey is merely a vessel channelling your lost hopes and dreams, a time when you weren’t afraid to say or do anything; the word consequence yet to make an appearance in your understanding.

Yes, it is deceiving, this pillar of freedom with its I-don’t-give-a-shit attitude, cornered on all sides by the approaching adult world. It laughs and makes a mockery of fifty and sixty-somethings whose hearts inflate like helium balloons at the sight of the little donkey who accompanied them through their childhood.

You stand with one arm linked through your partner’s, and with your other arm you shield your eyes from the pure blue sky above. You close one eye and see the donkey exactly as it is, and then re-opening it and closing your other eye, you see it has shifted slightly to the left, as if to say you can’t catch me, you’re too old. Its face reveals nothing but its blackberry eyes hee-haw all the while, so that you are forced to look up and away, beyond the wrought-iron fence at the monotony of adult life, where one day is very much the same as another.

There are no unexpected surprises in adult life, and with a heavy heart you look back at the donkey to find it has disappeared.