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September 2015, vol 11 no 3

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Alex Jankiewicz

Innocence Lost

Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

             ― W.B. Yeats, "The Stolen Child"

I wish I made money in the real world like I do in the virtual world I inhabit. This is what I'm thinking on my way to work while having a cigarette before my tram arrives.

Recently, I've gotten into playing Hay Day. I've never been much into playing video games, but this one had me hooked from the get-go. It's become an addiction, it seems. I half jokingly told my wife that I probably know more about my virtual neighbors than my real ones. I build my farm and expand it. I grow crops. Feed animals. Fish. Buy and sell. It's always been a dream of mine to own a farm. I remember as a kid growing up in Chicago that visiting my uncle's farm in Canada was like being in another world.

I notice an old man as he's picking up discarded cigarette butts off the pavement and putting them into his pocket. He comes over and asks for 50 cents. I know the smallest coin I have on me is a euro. I tell him I'm sorry. He says, matter of factly, "I could have asked for more." He walks away. My eyes follow with a sense of guilt. I'm tempted to call after him but then my tram arrives. After I'm seated and the tram gets going, I look out the window and find him crossing the street when he suddenly collapses.

This kind of thing doesn't happen on Hay Day. Just like it didn't happen on my uncle's farm when I was a kid.

small change
leftover dreams
in a pocket