A Still Picture

In a flash of blue light everything is still. My father is stood in front of me, a single tear clinging to the corner of his eye. My sister is in her cot, clinging to the bars, and peering over the edge with a questioning look on her face. The fire has become a still sculpture, with radiant curves and bends making up its body.

I try to move, but find it difficult to do so. Moving through the air is like trying to sieve my way through deep water. I push against my father’s outstretched hand. It feels the same as always, but it is static, immovable. My free fingers intertwine around his, and then I let go.

I push my way through the empty air, past my father and sister, and over to the open front door. Outside in the open air movement becomes more difficult. Slowly making my way down the cobbled road, I have to stay aware of floating leaves and insects that might disrupt my movement.

When I am stood still everything is incredibly silent, the quietest silence I have ever heard. But when I am moving my ears are filled with the oddest drones, high and low, quiet and loud.

I keep moving, with no thought to my destination. The world in front of me is like a painting, I am an observer. There are children with permanent smiles, mud crawling up to their knees, holding them to the ground. A cat is poised in mid-air, stretched out towards a butterfly that it can never catch. A woman stands with a watering can over a bed of flowers. The stream of water creates a bridge that connects her to her tulips.

The world starts to move again. The bridge of water connecting the woman and the flowerbed breaks, wetting the soil beneath it. The cat’s teeth close around the butterfly. Mud splashes to the ground, a leaf floats freely past my ear.

Inside, the fire loses its solid shape, and resumes its lucid dance. I watch the tear dribble down my father’s cheek. And then I speak.

          It’s okay

I say.

It’s all going to be okay.

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