A toddler from Differdange who was taken to a neighborhood playground he had not seen in a month has described the experience as “profoundly moving” and “an emotional trip down memory lane.”
“This place looks familiar,” Gilberto Macedo, aged two-and-a-half, said to himself on Monday after his father Angelo opened the playground gate, tapped the boy on the butt, and told him to have fun. “It’s as if I’ve been here before, but a long time ago, in my younger days.”
Upon seeing a sandbox containing a plastic yellow truck and a broken green shovel, Macedo was struck by a vague but powerful memory.
“Why yes, it’s all coming back to me,” he said. “I was playing with that truck when a little girl who was picking her nose snatched it from me, and I began to cry. Some angelic woman appeared and ordered her to give it back.”
Enlivened by the recollection, Macedo ran to every corner of the playground, nearly all of it bringing up some deeply buried memory.
“I was so young and helpless the last time I was here,” he said, looking at the swings that in June he was still too uncoordinated to play on alone. “Now look at me, a veritable preschooler, able to climb into the seat on my own.”
“How curious is this thing called time,” he continued, looking at a bouncy horse that once gave him hours of fun yet now seemed childish. “As we grow older, the shadows of our former selves retreat ever more into the darkness of the past.”
“I must be strong,” he added. “I must not cry. Too late. Papai!”
The toddler attempted to express to his father the conflicted feelings that were welling up inside of him, but the only words that came out were “truck” and “sad,” prompting the elder Macedo to agree that it was sad they were already back at this stupid playground – and that he couldn’t believe a whole month of vacation in Portugal disappeared in the blink of an eye.