The tree tops of a spread of lush green woods framed by small town streets rush into view.
As the camera pulls in through a wash of fat maple leaves, a trail of white-blond hair moves across the screen.
The rustling of a nature walk is peppered with the giggles of a little girl on a mission.
She slows her pace; her vast cornflower blue eyes smile and search, long straight chunks of hair wisp around her porcelain face, colored only by a slight flush at her cheeks and a few fawn freckles on the bridge of her nose.
Oversized baby teeth flash when she spots her target, and off she goes.
Skinny legs marked with mosquito bites and soil stick out from olive canvas shorts, belted tightly around a tiny waist. They move deftly over fallen branches, crunchy piles of old leaves, patches of moist mushrooms. A boyish snicker is heard ahead, and a pale face with deep hazel eyes that mirror the little girl’s peer from behind the grey rough bark of an old oak.
She catches up to him and they wind past the worn muddy path, his uneven brown pageboy catching sprinkles of filtered sunshine in breaks of the canopy of old New England trees.
He stops and kneels to show his little sister a discovery: old Indian arrowheads buried by a crumbled stone wall. He places a delicate ebony arrowhead in her white palm for inspection.
She kneels beside him, eyes fixed on the little piece of history she holds. She wipes the dirt off with her thumbs, and then rolls it over, tapping the point with the pad of her index finger, really feeling the markings that happened when it was created so long ago.
A shout echoes in the distance and their heads snap to attention.
They reach for each other without a look, her handing him the arrowhead and him carefully, quickly putting it back in the hiding place.
She stands, wipes her knees clean and heads in the direction of the call that beckoned. Smile gone, hair falling flat on her boney shoulders, she marches away.
Her brother follows a few paces behind, no longer finding the chance sunbeams in between the trees.
It takes only a moment for the shadows to take over them, as they disappear from the frame.
This post was written for Write on Edge’s RemembeRED memoir writing prompt:
Your best selling memoir has just been optioned by a major motion picture studio, and the producers want you advising on the script. Write the opening scene for the movie. Would you begin with a visual montage? Voice-over? Flashback or forward? A conversation? The trick here is to look through a lens. The camera needs to tell the story through visuals, action, dialogue.
I can’t imagine a memoir not including how compartmental my childhood was.
When I read the prompt again last night, this is what I saw. I zoomed in from the sky and saw the woods behind the house I lived in until I was 7 years old. My brother and I on one of our adventures, running free, and having it all stopped unexpectedly. Yet expectedly.
I learned at a young age that moments can turn on a dime, to be prepared. This ended up being a major part of who I am today.