Ten Seconds

Ten Seconds


I remember reading once that when faced with a life and death situation your whole life flashes in front of your eyes. It’s true.

One moment I’m looking up at white puffy clouds that seem so close I reach out to touch them and then, like a music video editor making microsecond cuts, I hear Miss McClelland calling my name.

“Sarah, those white, fluffy clouds have a name.”

I was in the third grade and the class was on a nature walk, identifying the differences between oak and maple leaves and talking about how photosynthesis makes the fall season in Pennsylvania beautiful shades of red and yellow with tiny tinges of green.

What ever happened to Gail McClelland, my “walk to school” classmate, friend, and niece of our teacher? And Melissa Cormack? We were best friends through sixth grade. Where is she now? We played board games before we became teenagers and graduated to slumber parties and kissing games. (How else are girls supposed to learn to kiss?)

Ah, my first real “boy” kiss was such a disappointment. Jack Jordan waited until we were actually standing under the 60 watt porch light before he stumbled toward me. Come to think of it, I’m not sure Jack should get credit for that awkward smooch. Maybe it was Chip or John. It wasn’t a very good kiss.

Not like Darren’s passionate embrace with lips eventually numbing and our tongues exploring first mouths, then bodies. Sexual awakening at 24 – awesome!

I blinked once and the white clouds had floated over the buildings and were now a hazy shade of gray.

Mom had died on a day like today. We were both too young. At 34, she left behind three little kids. I was only 9. That day a thunderstorm had moved in and a dark sky – like now – shaded the sun.

All of a sudden, my “music video” life has a soundtrack. The rushing of the wind sounds like Niagara Falls. [cont.]