His brain exploded, POP! He stood, rooted in place, watching the white orb float lazily against the expanse of perfect blue sky above him. There was a slight wind, just enough to move the damp hairs on his neck and forehead. A tingling awareness. A tension. He did not breathe. He did not speak. He watched the white sphere hanging from the heavens and time was nothing. Time was gone. And at the same time it was hurtling past him with a subway whoosh that would ring in his ears forever.
Beneath his feet there was thick green grass. Beneath that, rich earth. And in it, and through it, inhabiting it, there was a world more vast and complex than he could imagine. One that he never thought of. The creeping, crawling, slithering things that he found easy to ignore. But they were there. Civilizations and complex structures. Lives and governments and systems so complex they could never have been devised by man. They were born of eons of trial and error.
In the boys’ mind he was dying and being reborn. He was living generations inside his mind. He was lost in heartache and tenderness and fear. He was soaring on the wings of pure adrenaline. He was fully aware and fully attached to the moment and the white against the pure, crystalline blue.
There was a rage of noise around him, but he was oblivious to it. Decades passed and dreams floated through the air on silent owl wings. None of it was real. It was the most genuine moment of his entire life. He was surrounded by humanity and totally alone. He would never have a moment as unadulterated…as perfect and seamless…not for the rest of his life.
If anything it was like the moment when you learn how to dive into a swimming pool. When you finally grapple with the short-breathed panicking terror and you push off with your toes and slice into the cool, blue water and you are ecstatic with the simplicity of it. You want to do it again and again. It was like that except he was frozen in the moment…toes leaving the sandpaper grip of the board. He was wooden and alive and terrified and filled with a kind of reverie he had never experienced and never would again.
The feeling of death and birth must be very much the same. Lightness into darkness or the other way around. You must understand that the boy felt it all. He was time. He was powerful and weak and craven and brave and, god, he grieved for it. There was a palpable sense of loss and a searing slap of redemption.
It was close enough now that he could see the red stitches on the white cowhide. The ball spun in slow motion. His mouth was dry and the sky was so blue that it pained him to look at it. The noise around him was reaching a crescendo…a chorus of hopes and dreams pinned on something meaningless that meant too much.
He raised his glove, underhand, and he knew in his unconscious that the ball would fall into the webbing and he would feel it inside his hands, firm and real and undeniable. He felt a surge of joy and sadness, the two emotions like the very strands of his DNA. And his eyes were glued to the ball. His every sense attuned to the thunk of the ball as it glanced off the tip of his glove. He watched the ball fall to the soft, green grass and his mind backfired. Faltered. Implosion. He knew that his life would never be the same.