The days are getting warmer, but the air is still cool and smells like rain and rivers most of the time. Inside the house, my Grandmother and my Aunt are baking sugar cookies. Most will be shaped like bunnies, and eggs, and Easter baskets. Despite being well out of season, a few will be shaped like bats, at my firm insistence, for Batman, of course.
Too busy for baking, I am outside, climbing the picnic table and gleefully flinging myself off of it again, endlessly entertained and completely immune to self trauma. I could fight bad guys and villains all afternoon and never tire. I am invincible, as only a child can be.
Tied snugly around my neck is a ratty blue tea towel that has seen better and more dignified days. Its crocheted, covered in pale blue flowers with buttery yellow centers. At one end, the dark blue border is stretched out into two long, irregular points, where it ties under my chin. This is, undoubtedly, my favourite cape.
I am running down the length of the table, about to hurl myself through the air, when something changes...
I can't say what it is that catches my attention first. It might have been the way the light seems to disappear from the sky, siphoned away like liquid below the horizon, or it might be the way the clouds seem suddenly oppressively and suffocatingly close, grown thick with shadows and menace.
My body has frozen. I cannot move. At the end of the table i am stopped for all time, eyes glued to the rapidly darkening sky. All I can do is stare and stare. There are no sounds. The entire world has emptied. A slow panic builds, my guts make lazy loop-de loops, building waves of nausea. My throat closes, to stop them from escaping. My heart hammers in my chest.
Nothing is right.
But no sound will come. I try and try but all the sounds are gone and i can not make any new ones.
I spend an eternity there, in a world gone still.
Suddenly, my body goes limp as I am swept, like a quaking leaf, into the air by a pair of strong, well furred arms. My grandfather has come to collect me. I burst into tears, at once relieved and terrified. He's looking at me, brow wrinkled in puzzlement. I bounce in his arms as he carries me towards the porch, bawling nonsense syllables and sucking air back into my lungs huge ragged gasps.
I cannot speak it. Cannot tell.
I never knew what happened.