A little girl sat all alone on her back steps. Her tiny hands cupped her dirty face. Her stringy blond hair flew wildly about her face as the soft October breeze danced around her. Her big blue eyes looked down to the ground, but from her expression, one could only assume that she was staring through the earth into a world only she could know. It was difficult to tell if the girl was sad or just contemplative. She kicked one of her beaten old tennis shoes into the yard and rolled one pant leg up to her knee, then quickly returned to her original posture. I found myself wishing I’d not left my camera in the car. This was too perfect a moment not to capture. Alas, it would have to be through the filter of my memory.
I tried to put myself in her shoes. I tried to imagine where all the dirt on my face could have come from, to make the moment more visceral. That’s when I realized it had been years since I’d done anything except yard work or applying a facial mask that could result in such a covering. I used to love the dirt. I made mud pies, ran through fields barefoot chasing any and every little thing that caught my imagination. I had ruined more than my fair share of clothes. That’s when I realized, she wasn’t sad. That was the adult filter taking over for the reality.
This girl was simply in between moments. She’d run her course as far as it would go, but the course had not taken all her energy. She was creating her next new adventure. One couldn’t very well begin a new adventure when the world it was to take place in had yet to come to be.
I envied her this moment. She sat so still except for her searching eyes, a hunter in wait.
It was then I noticed it. A small figure in the bushes at the edge of the yard. Her eyes lit up as a small dirty tan wire-haired dog came creeping up to her tail wagging, missing shoe in mouth. The girl stayed very calm. You could tell they’d played this game before. One wrong move and the shoe could be lost forever.
The dog lay on its belly and began to crawl. Squeaking happy grunts as it inch closer and closer, trying to gage when she’d make her move. Then, just as the dog came into reach, she scooped it up into her tiny arms…dog hanging out in all directions, happily squirming within her loving embrace.
The shoe dropped to the ground at her feet as the dog covered her face in kisses. Soon all traces of their day would be gone.