I was only 12 years old. My best friend and I walked along the familiar street- bright sunshine filtered through, casting a white glow on the cement. I don’t remember where we were going, but we caught a glimpse (or at least I did) of an old, small woman. She must have been a grandmother- she walked like one. Our pace adjusted, to match hers. At a distance, her blurred figure swayed, her pink skirt drifting to and fro in slow motion, alternating its rhythm with the brush of her knee against the polyester cloth. Her beige shirt was warm and a reminder of safe places. I wasn’t scared but there was something about her that struck me as odd. She wasn’t of this plane and the idea rushed up on the shores of my brain so quickly; there was no time to question it.
The walk towards each other lasted an eternity- she grew bigger as we came closer and closer. For some reason, maybe out of fear or embarrassment, my best friend and I decided it was high time we curtailed out of the direction of something new and made a beeline for the opposite side of the street. We didn’t care if we were jaywalking; to 12 year olds, it was the lay of the land. Strangely (or not so strangely) we were caught dead in our tracks, our grayed payless sneakers, worn with adventure, stopped with not so much as a skid. They became part of the silver pavement and we were unable to move any further.
At that moment, I knew for sure, that something indescribable, something irreplaceable and something that doesn’t happen for everyone (sometimes never happens for anyone) was about to happen to me- and this- I knew at the ripe and tender age of…
“Good Day, sunshine….” the angel implored.
My mouth formed a casual “o” and my eyebrows furrowed at the replication of distant, submerged memories- archetypal deaths and births and synchronicity screamed its hollow cry. The record player skipped all the other songs and the needle jumped- ceremoniously to number ? on The Beatles’ concept album Sergeant Pepper Lonely Hearts Club Band… Her memory haunts the recesses of my mind and pulls the blinds of denial from time to time to remind the child within in me that there is always more… much, much more… inside.