Abby, Max and I are out for a walk. The trail meanders along a fast running creek, separating a really nice neighborhood from a not-so-nice, um, hood. We take this walk almost everyday. We stalk the family of ducks that live in the tall grass and always stop to say hello to Abby's "buddies," two old, slow moving beagles that she torments with sticks through a chain link fence. Sorry dogs.
On this particular day it's hot. The breeze is so warm that it dries out your eyeballs -- just like when you open the oven door when it's at 425 degrees. We are throwing sticks in the water. It's her turn to toss and her stick doesn't quite make it beyond the steep bank. She starts to run down. I panic.
"Stop!" I screech.
I am picturing her tumbling down the bank, face down and floating lifeless in the water. I dive in after her. We both get swept away by the current, leaving her baby brother behind. He is alone in the stroller, prey for abduction and the cause of my arrest for negligence...
She snaps me out of my "dread-dream" -- that horrific place only a mother can venture to in her head.
"Why?" She asks.
"Because I don't want you to fall in," I explain.
"And, get eaten by the alligators?" She asks looking at me with wide brown eyes.
"Yes, and get eaten by the alligators."
I smile at the place she takes me to (refreshingly far from my frightening dread-dream) -- the place only a child's innocent, yet vivid, imagination can wander... Alligators in Colorado.