I'm alone in the backyard. There's a blanket covering my head. I'm blind, or trying to be. Like Mary, on Little House on the Prairie. I'm going to run as fast as I can, to see if my other senses kick in and save the day. In my gut I know that a force greater than myself will protect me. I just know. It's a hot, sticky morning. I want to take my shirt off, but at nine I've already developed a sense of modesty, gently culled by my mother, who has always held up a towel for me to change behind at the beach (but what was there to hide?). I breathe wetly under the blanket, then begin to twirl in a circle, spreading my arms out wide. GO! Frantic with excitement, I run forward as fast as I can, my arms cutting through the air on each side. Faster, faster! I rush headfirst into the brick wall. BOOM! A few moments later the sound of my own thin wailing awakens me. I'm lying curled up on the ground, the blanket covering me like a shroud.
It's this experience that begins to define me as a separate person. Unlike earlier decisions in my life, this one can't be blamed on anyone else. No. The choices that lead up to the wonderful, terrible moment of impact are wholly my own. From this day onward, I'll possess the uncanny ability of rushing headfirst towards danger, arms spread wide.