The silence was deafening, the darkness pressing in on my body and my mind. I couldn’t remember where I was or why I was there.

The silence stretched on for an eternity, no breaks, no noise at all; not even a creak that you would typically hear in a building, any building. The darkness knew no bounds. It was complete and thorough.

What had I been doing? Laughing. I remember laughter. Was it mine or did it belong to someone else? It was me. I remember the vibrations in my throat and chest. What had I been laughing at?

Flight. I had been flying, I think. I was moving faster than if I were running, out of control. I remember my little brother, Jacob, was laughing too.

Then it all came flooding back. We had been taking turns jumping as far as we could from the swings. We were pumping our legs as fast as we could, trying to swing higher and higher, faster and faster. The wind from my pumping legs had made my hair come loose and stream out behind me. As I neared the top of the swings arc, I let go and flew.

Jacob laughed as I flew farther than he thought I’d ever go and it looked like I’d win the competition. I might have, too, if I hadn’t landed so awkwardly. My scream was strangled in my throat as the wind was knocked out of me. I had landed flat on my back, right on a railroad tie that surrounded the playground. I lost consciousness shortly after Jacob ran to tell Mommy that I fell.

As the darkness continued to press in on me, I realized that my world was now complete darkness. I might never hear Jake’s voice again, never see my mom’s smile. And as I felt the tears roll down my cheeks, I felt someone grab hold of my left hand and squeeze. Immediately, a smaller hand touched my arm. And then I was embraced in a tight hug from both my parents and Jacob.

I would live the rest of my life in complete darkness, deaf, blind, and mute. But I would always have Jake.


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