I opened my eyes. It was dark.
“Kid! Wake up! You okay?” the voice urged again.
I didn’t understand where I was. It was dark, there was something cold and wet pressed against my cheek, and what sounded like a child’s voice was calling me “kid” and telling me to get up.
The world exploded into a riot of pinwheeling color and patterns as I sat up. And pain. Lots of pain. It shot through my head in a shining white blade of heat and light. I threw up.
“Wow. That’s impressive,” the voice intoned, “It’s always corn, you notice that? Even if you haven’t had any.”
I tried not to laugh even though exactly the same thought had just passed through my mind. But laughing made the blade of shimmering pain twist in my head.
“Who are you?” I finally managed to croak.
“Ha! At least you didn’t ask who YOU were,” said the voice.
The kaleidoscope of colors had begun to subside, and with it the sharpness of the pain in my head, so I ventured a glance toward the voice. My eyes passed the wreckage of my guitar, and with sudden swiftness and a gut-wrenching sense of loss I remembered exactly why I was here.
It was dark, and there was no moon to light the night. The nearest streetlights were on the other side of the park. At first I couldn’t make out anyone, my eyes wouldn’t focus properly, but eventually the blurry shape resolved itself into a child.
Though her face was partly obscured by a hood, it was obvious she was a girl, and about my own age. She was bundled up in a jacket and jeans to guard against the cold. She had red woolen mittens and red canvas shoes, like old-style basketball shoes.
I stared at her shoes for a while. I didn’t know why, but her shoes seemed wrong to me. Eventually the sound of her voice brought me around.
“So, you okay? what happened? she asked.
“Yeah. I’m okay,” I answered. I tore my eyes from her shoes and looked at her face as she sat down beside me. It was a face I felt I could tell anything to. “I’m okay. Will be, anyway.”
“That’s good to know. I doubt your guitar will fare so well. It looks pretty smashed up.”
I didn’t answer. Her assessment was perfect. My grandfather would have been crushed, I was heartbroken. Even worse, I dreaded telling my mother about it.
“Yeah. That’ll be a problem. Who are you, anyway?” I asked her.
She stood up and offered me a hand. Once on my feet I swayed a bit, and she continued to hold my hand to help keep me balanced.
“You can call me Amy.”