One Shade of Gray
By Darin Hopson
I had an epiphany the other day, when I paid special attention to the color of my house. It happened while I was watering my garden. No not the traditional kind with all the pretty little flowers—my mom has enough of those around our yard, but a fruit and vegetable garden, pumpkins, squash, beans, watermelon, and corn to be exact.
To me there has always been something nostalgic about being outside in nature and appreciating what this Earth has to offer, which makes me think sometimes that maybe I didn’t plant them simply for the delight of eating them, but also to give me peace of mind. Whatever the reason was, all I know is that day I truly realized something about my life.
Born in Southampton, and raised in Sag Harbor I often held a grudge against my parents for raising me in such a quiet and peaceful place, because quiet and peaceful is no fun for a kid who always liked being around lots of people, but I guess the Hamptons wouldn’t have its reputation for being a huge tourist and celebrity attraction if it didn’t have something to offer.
Though I certainly would have loved being around more people, I eventually adapted to the way of life out here, and when I began to think about how I used to ride my back down to Haven’s beach feeling the force of the wind blowing against me, like I was a plane flying through the clouds, or how I’d play in my backyard from sun up to sun down with cousins and friends or how I would go sleigh riding down Pierson hill it suddenly didn’t seem so bad to be out here, and now I kind of want to thank them.
I often catch myself reminiscing about the past and how I got to the present so fast. We all know we have to grow up someday, we just don’t realize how quickly that happens. Who wouldn’t want to return to the world of oblivion that a child lives in? I ask myself. A perfect world, that’s filled with incompetence, and ignorance, because now my world is filled with knowledge and understanding and I no longer can escape into the world that my mind once created, one that didn’t know death, and suffering, or drugs, and sex, but one that was carefree.
It was a very hard transformation for me having to accept that the world was not perfect, and it still bothers me to think about it. I remember some days that I would come home from school and would find my grandmother—on my mom’s side—wandering around our yard or even trying to make her way up Eastville—the name of our road—looking for my aunt who had passed away I think a couple of years earlier. I knew the definition of Alzheimer’s but for a teenager to see it first hand was quite an experience, especially when I wasn’t sure what to do.
It was incidents like that, that stick with me today even though I was an early teenager back then and I am in my mid-twenties now, it still left me with the question, why? But I try to let the past be the past even though I find it hard to let go of sometimes. How I wish that things didn’t have to change, and even though change is good sometimes, it can also be bad. I guess change is a “for better” or “worse” sort of deal, like in marriage, but who wouldn’t rather have the better? Like the times my father would flip me over my shoulder after a disappointing loss in little league to cheer me up, or how my mother would kiss my cuts and bruises to make the pain go away as if I had never hurt myself.
Now I find myself more often taking care of them, almost as if the roles have been reversed, now I have to deal with the pain of watching them struggle just to walk around the house, though they are still capable of doing many things, it does not feel the same, it does not feel like it used to, but I am forced to move on and accept life, even though I don’t want to. Which is what I realized the other day, when I noticed the color of my house was gray, like my world, stuck between two colors not knowing which one I am more.