His grandchildren tut-tutted from behind their phones. A social worker had waved her angry glasses at him. But he couldn’t play in his cramped apartment. The neighbors complained. (He should complain about them!)
He had to play outside, to wind-gutted trees and passersby. To princes, ballerinas, and circus clowns, if they came! And they did stop by sometimes.
So what if he lost track of time, wandered farther than they thought he should? He was a grown man!
Strangers slowed down to catch his sweet notes on their tongues and smile despite the chill and hurry.
He had to play.