The child stared and eyes blazed sky and wide, unblinking in their riveted attention. She seemed a radiant island in the roof-sheltered centre of mercantilism, where zombie-like people followed human sluiceways, their plastic totes of accumulated wants heavy in hand. They focused on the next superficial stop of salivation, oblivious of how the intense scrutiny of child rubbed sticks in a spirit watching until white wisps of smoke emoted, first signal of distress and of a time-benumbed raw nerve awakened.
Withdraw. No, wait. An adult familiar crouched beside the child. She called to the retreater by name, not in anger, but unknown purpose. The call traversed a decade, benign by measures of danger, yet kryptonite for the restless sleeper, who, aghast in a self-created world, heeded not.
An elevator dropped with urgency, one spacious, ballroom-sized, and as decorative. Direction metamorphosed to downward diagonal, a wild slide on outside rails. For this fleeting experience, diced exhilaration garnished underlying trepidation.
Early morning light called time on the transpositive wandering. The child remained loved in unlimited measure across the change of state and subsequent examinatorial rewind. In the wakened world, remembrance jumped the child forward to the first days of her third decade. Yet, her searing scrutiny and the imagined call across time etched another spirit-scar, even in a dream fashioned of curious surroundings.
A mountain of guilt earned long ago coupled with a field of shame. No matter the tally of positive movement, nothing existed capable of dissolving experienced history. Working with this universal rule, the collective memories drove towards better, towards growth, away from acceptance of futility.
Her heart ached, but inertia spawned depression. The past served as fuel. If nothing else, when others pointed to her failings, perhaps one day, her progeny might find their ease in the newer facts.