|The day was an answer to my December prayers to be free from the cold Arctic snows. It was a pleasant spring Sunday afternoon, blessed with the kiss of a cool breeze and comforting warmth of sunshine. The air was spiced with the scent of virgin flowers peppering the landscape. A chorus of songbirds gave the feel that the world was a scripted music video. I walked home from church wearing my favorite blue blazer with sharply creased khaki slacks. At 12 years old, I was lost in the magic of the day.
My immediate attention was divided between the cracked uneven sidewalk and the celebrating robins and cardinals. About halfway home I heard a familiar voice in the distance.
"Hey, Patrick hold up! Wait for me!" she called.
It was Nancy, a girl in my class that I'd kinda liked since 5th grade but had no clue how to show it, so I kept it to myself.
"Hi Nancy, I'll wait!' I called back.
She ran in that clumsy, girlish way, with her arms tucked in and her shoulders swinging, but all I saw was the way she smiled, her hair flowing in the wind.
"Whew! I thought I'd never catch up with you. Whacha doing?" she asked.
"Going home from church. What're you doing?" I asked, trying to follow her lead.
"I was playing in that vacant lot back there and found something awfully strange. You want to see?" she asked.
"Yeah! Lead the way," I answered.
I followed Nancy up the sidewalk and turned at the corner to the next intersection. It felt like we were on a mission, but I wasn't sure of the objective. On the opposite corner was an overgrown field full of the typical mix of weeds and wildflowers. As we crossed the lot I noticed the growth grew thicker the farther we went.
"This is it," she said.
She pointed into a murky depression half full of green, slimy stuff growing in what I presumed to be water. The smell was horrendous, like an over used port-a-potty that's been in the hot sun too long. I could only imagine the disease living in this muck.
With my attention on the green stuff, I hadn't noticed that Nancy had maneuvered behind me until she gave me a mighty shove. I landed face first into the slime pit. I was drenched. My beautiful blue blazer and khaki pants were ruined. Nancy laughed as I retched uncontrollably and splashed about trying to regain my balance. When I was able to stand on dry land, I glared at Nancy unable to believe what just happened.
"Are you crazy?" I screamed. "Why'd you do that?"
Nancy just turned and ran as fast as she could, laughing in a sick, cold-blooded way. I was in shock and frozen by disbelief. I was covered with putrid green slime from the top of my head to the tip of my toes.
I walked home in zombie-like silence. I thought about how much I used to like Nancy's crazy laugh. Things are different now.