The sunlight came filtered in brilliant shades of gold and yellow, its warmth coming through in patches to kiss my bare arms as I weaved my way between the rows of corn stalks that towered above my head. Their leaves reached out like crisp, elongated fingers, tips tickling my arms and legs as I passed. Pale dirt beneath my feet cracked, thirsty with the lack of rain, the lines opening ever wider underneath my weight like hundreds of hungry mouths hoping I might be able to offer them relief.
I looked around me, listening for signs of my siblings or cousins. The only sounds audible were that of the crows cawing their discontent and the wind rippling through the field. Standing on tiptoe, I tried to see the target… the one spot we always set out for: a large, lone oak tree in the middle of the field. It probably wasn’t more than a hundred yards out from the edge of our lawn, but it seemed like miles when wandering through this field of giant stalks. All I could see now was row upon row of green, staggered with erratic patches of blonde silk marking the plump pouches packed with ripe, sweet kernels of corn.
I looked around as I heard voices approaching from the distance. It was two of my cousins, talking and laughing as they teamed up to find me in this carefully columned game of hide and seek.
As the voices became clearer and louder, I turned and ran. Sneakers pounding the dirt, tiny clouds of dust exploding in the air at my heels, I extended my arms… an airplane flying through a maze, leaves and tassels slapping my hands, wrists and arms as I sailed past.
The sense of freedom I felt as I ran was unbridling. I didn’t care if they heard me. I was close; I could feel it. The giggles began to bubble up and soon the laughter was bursting from my lips as I ran, my fingertips grazing the edges of the rough stalks, strands of silk sticking to me as I pushed through. I ran, the wind flinging itself through my long, dark hair and, finally… a clearing.
There it was.
My breath came in gasps as I reached it, palms slamming into the rough, grating bark and marking me as it scraped the skin on my hands and arms with the weight of our collision. For the first time, I had made it. I peered up at the cloudless blue sky and my laughter bounced back at me as I wrapped my arms tightly around the rough trunk of The Tree, its ridges pressing into my chest and stomach, scratching my cheek.
Face flushed, perspiration sticking to my brow and matting my bangs, I heard the stalks rustling as my playmates came running after me.
“Olly Olly Oxen Free!” I yelled our safe code breathlessly into the summer air, giggling.
I had made it.
Here, I was safe.
This post was written in response to a prompt by The Red Dress Club:
This week, we want you to imagine that after you have died, your daughter/son will be given the gift of seeing a single five-minute period of your life through your eyes, feeling and experiencing those moments as you did when they occurred. What five minutes would you have him/her see? Tell us about them in the finest detail.
Let’s have a maximum word count of 700 words for this post.