It was Sunday afternoon and I was killing time in the park before heading home, when I noticed him. He was around eight or nine, wearing a Star Wars t-shirt and carrying a small balloon. The sight of him prompted a flood of childhood memories. I had been obsessed with Star Wars when I was his age, and had the same t-shirt. I’d also had that same horrible bowl haircut, the one my mother had insisted looked ‘cute’. And I’d carried a similar balloon around for days after my eighth birthday.
Wait a second.
Exactly the same.
Could it be…?
No of course not. That’s impossible.
But if it was? Should I talk to him? What advice could I give myself at that age? Anything too specific would probably just scare him. I mean how would you, as an eight year old, react if a stranger came up to you in the park and said ‘Never lend any toys to Robbie Levinson’? And anything too vague would probably be lost on him. And anyway, it’s the mistakes I made in the past that helped make me who I am. Why would I want to change that?
The boy looked at me briefly, smiled, and then ran off to join his mother.