Angels & Alligators

When I was a kid I used to think that Florida was Heaven

not because I had been there or had even seen pictures of it

or really knew anything at all about the place

but when I was 5, maybe 6 years old

my grandmother and grandfather went to Florida

but just to visit, I was assured they would return

they went to the airport and flew to Florida to visit my grandma’s sister

and my mom tried to explain airplanes and pointed one out in the sky

so I thought Florida was in the clouds

which is exactly where I thought heaven was

so it dawned on me that Florida was in heaven

or heaven was in Florida or Florida was heaven

filled with angels and alligators, way up in the clouds above our house

with a magical kingdom and a talking mouse

and Jesus and Elvis and ancestors.

It made sense, there was no ladder in the world that tall

so they had to take a plane

even though it seemed like an incredible pain in the ass

to have to drive to the airport and get on a plane

to go to the clouds right above our house.

 

The first pictures I saw of Florida

when my grandparents got home

were of Disney world

and the magic kingdom certainly seemed

like something that would be in the clouds,

and they also had pictures from Gatorland

and I was scared to think that so many alligators

were up in the clouds in Florida

but I knew they must be good alligators

since they made it to heaven

and only good things were in heaven.

My mom said that kids couldn’t go to Florida,

only old people could go

and I assumed that this was because they had to visit their parents

who had died,

and to prepare for their own deaths one day

and my friend’s grandparents moved to Florida

and I was so sad for him because I thought they were dead

and I was even sadder when my grandma’s other sister moved to Florida

because I thought that she died

but she came back later that year for Christmas

so I wasn’t sad anymore.

 

I never flew on an airplane until I was almost 18 years old

but I did go with my grandmother to visit Florida on a bus

over my winter break during eighth grade

and we didn’t go to Disney

but we did go to Gatorland

but it was probably quite a while before that

when I realized that Florida isn’t heaven

and it’s not in the clouds

and old people move there for the weather

or to run away from family problems

not because they’re dead.

 

I vaguely remember my grandfather pointing up at the clouds

explaining where they were going on their trip

I don’t think I imagined that Florida was in the clouds

I’m pretty sure he was trying to amuse himself

by lying to a 5 year old kid.

He never said that Florida was heaven

I figured that out on my own.

About soitgoes1984

I was born and raised on land stolen from the Pocumtuc. I now live on a small island in the middle of the Pacific ocean, on land that was stolen more recently, from the Hawaiians. I am addict, struggling to kick the habit of fossil fuel. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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