Sometimes an image flashes just for a moment, a lucky instant, and gets captured there in your mind. Mostly not, mostly they float away, but sometimes the beauty that is all around us, unnoticed usually, hits us suddenly, is noticed, and is remembered.

She was just six, maybe, or seven, and I was pulling over to get the mail. She lives down the block; her name is Zoe and she’s a delight. I see her in front of her house when the evenings are fine, with her mother, drawing on the sidewalk with chalk or being pushed on her swing. My puppies love her, and I try hard to show a level of interest that’s not too creepy; hard in a middle-aged man in these suspicious times.

And now there was Zoe, moving towards the street! I’m driving! Uh oh! And snap, a moment:

I look over, concentrating hard, because I don’t want to hit her. But she’s not running into the street; she stands, one foot on the curb, right hand outstretched, left hand back for balance, fiercely focused on something just in front of her, not moving.

They float there, three shimmering, translucent spheres, almost invisible, hanging in the air. Zoe’s mom, a big smile on her face, stands with the big bubble paddle still extended and dripping on the sidewalk, watching Her Girl trying to pop the bubbles before they do it of themselves.

The moment is frozen in my mind; just a moment, ordinary and beautiful. The bubbles glittering in the setting sun; her mom’s smile; her intent expression and outstretched hand; my worry turning into pleasure. Only a moment.

My mind is already trying to turn it into a picture, wishing I could draw, or paint. Wishing I could freeze time like a speedster superhero like the Flash or Quicksilver so I could whip out my phone and take a picture. Wishing I had the drawing talent of my friends like Paul or Becky and could take the image in my head and set it down on paper, unburdened by my nerve damage and shaky, poorly-coordinated hands.

All I have is words. Words to convey to you her brown-blonde hair frozen as she moves towards those three bubbles hanging in the air, stops on the curb, weight held on that one front foot as she reaches forward towards the shimmering bubbles. The tables of the two observers on either side: Her mom who initiated the moment, and the lucky man who got to observe it my merest chance and bring it to you, whoever you are, wherever you are, and let you fold it into your mind.

It’s not a painting, or a drawing; it’s my sketch, in words. I hope you liked it.

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