One of life’s greatest tragedies is that we are not allowed to choose what we dream, thought Minni Plemie as she watched her children lay on the sand. The Plemie Children were unaware of their mother’s gaze as they argued about what certain cloud formations looked like. The morning fog was burning off. Zlo saw a plane and thought that the jet stream looked like a little slit, a view into heaven. For some reason, he didn’t want to share this detail with his siblings.
Elsker lay next to Zlo and housed a handful of pebbles in her mouth. She liked to pretend that the rocks were analogous to ice cream, but rumor had it that she liked the taste.
Zlo watched a few ducks waddle from the bay to the shore. Brinner, Zlo’s younger brother, stood up and took a candy bar out of his pocket. He crouched down and inched towards the ducks. Two crows squawked at Brinner and flew into the air. It was unclear if they were mocking him or warning the ducks about the impending snack. Brinner, conscious of every movement, watched his feet as he walked. At a proximity that would make a survival wilderness semi-envious, Brinner unwrapped the candy bar and held it towards the ducks. However the ducks, either not hungry or in the mood to antagonize a young boy, ignored the candy bar, and went straight for Brinner’s finger. Flies buzzed in the air and a scream was heard before first blood was drawn. Brinner held his finger and ran towards Minni. At the sight of her son’s tears, Minni laughed. She had no idea why.
“Mom! Mom! I’m going to die. I’m going to die!” Brinner said.
Minni ran a hand through her hair and touched all her fingers against her thumb. She fell to the floor in laughter.
“Help! Mom, I need help. Can’t you see, I’m going to die!?”
Zlo and Elsker, bored with the clouds and curious about the commotion, stood up and join their brother and mother. Elsker spat the rocks out of her mouth. Despite her general tomboy nature, she still wanted to seem like a lady.
“Mom! Mom! Can we get ice cream? You promised we could get ice cream.”
“I’m bleeding! Make it stop mom, make it stop!”
“My favorite flavor is Chocolate, but I’ll also settle for vanilla and a topping.”
“It hurts! You don’t understand!
Minni lied on the grounds and gasped for air. She massaged her skin as she laughed. The flies momentarily stopped buzzing as Timothy ran towards his family.
Zlo saw his father and thought of those old airplane ads where the family stands on the runway in order to greet their returning father. He wished his life were an advertisement. Elsker runs up to her father and grabs his leg.
“So daddy, I want two scoops and three droppings. Vanilla and hubbleberry and ross vigor, and gummy hair and…
Timothy just dragged his daughter along on his leg. He would respond, but he had nothing to say. He reaches his family, unties his tie, and tries to catch his breathe.
“What? What did you guys do?” Timothy said.
He had taken off his tie and let it rest around his neck.
“The duck, it bit me and it’s bleeding and I don’t know what I’m going to do.”
Timothy bent down and made eye contact with Brinner. He took his tie and wrapped it around his son’s finger. Once he completed the makeshift bandage, Timothy walked over to Minni and put a hand on her back.
“Ready for the picture, babe?”
“You said you would be here by eleven o’clock?”
“I got held up. I’m sorry, but I said between eleven and noon.”
“It’s twelve past eleven.”
“I can’t do it.”
“How about tomorrow?”
Timothy broke into a smile as tears streamed down his face. He grabbed Minni’s hand, raised it to his lips, and kissed it.
“Lets take this picture!” Timothy said.
Timothy stepped over Minni, pulled a small camera out of his pocket, and put it down on a nearby rock. The quality and composition of the image were irrelevant; it just had to be a memory. The family arranged itself behind a laughing Minni. Timothy stood directly behind his wife and put his arm around Zlo, who, for all future record, was the only one smiling. Brinner sat on the ground next to his mother and held his finger for dear life. He thought that if he squeezed hard enough maybe he would never bleed again. Elsker stood behind Zlo, partially obscured from view. She had two rocks in her mouth. The flash took and for a moment, the time between breathes, all of their lives stood still. However, the earth continued to spin, and as soon as the flash dissipated the family scattered. Timothy picked up the camera, looked at the picture, and slipped the camera back into his pocket. He took of his jacket and laid it on the rock, determined to enjoy the afternoon. Zlo walked up to his father and tugged at his pant leg.
“Why are you taking you clothes off? It’s cold out.”
“Didn’t you have fun?”
“That’s not what I asked.”
“Yeah… I, I guess your right.”
Six year olds can read emotion with remarkable accuracy.