This is a story that will be well told, I know it; but a sadness engulfs me because I will never know it.
There is a distance and space between me and the writer, a barricade of tar and gravel that I am not allowed to cross. A unseen boundary that has been enforced by words. The very same words that might be in the writer’s story, “never cross the street alone!”
These words my Mother has imprinted in my brain which in turn has created invisible shackles for my feet. I will never cross the street alone… not until my mother says I can.
So now, I stand on the other side, in the disappearing light of the evening, staring across to the window of the bookstore; not seeing anything but the silhouette of a man at a desk. In this hands, clearly illuminated by the light from the lamp on the desk is a quill dancing from left to right on top of a book; leaving in its wake, the imprint of words that will shackle a reader to it, page by page.
I tried it immediately after she said it would be the greatest experience of my life.
“I will do it with you,” she said with her dimpled mischievous smile.
Counting off her fingers, she outlined the procedure.
We will sit on the fence for 30 minutes to an hour
And then jump down to ground
And so it was after an hour of making up stories about ‘The mysterious catzilla, guardian of the dragon egg’, that I heard, “1,2, Jump!”.
Suddenly there was an explosion in my head and I could not tell if it was pain. pleasure or a combination of both.
It felt like a thousand needles were travelling from the sole of my feet to the line that is my spine and back again in rapid succession; all the way marking their trail with their sharp points.
We were both bent over, gasping, and trying to breathe through the pain. Then with the twinkle of a million stars in her eyes, she looked at me and broke out laughing in bits and pieces.
“Awesome isn’t it? So painfully delicious!”, she managed to say as she tried to get through the moment.
Only Sarah could convince me that freezing my legs out in the cold before jumping from a height was the greatest experience of my life. And we had many more “greater” ones after that before adulthood came calling.