#34 A Literal World
“Ouch! That burned a bit”, Amiee said as she felt a warm heat on the back of her neck.
“What was that”, she asked her friend Mary.
“Dragonfly, probably”, Mary responded. “Sometimes their fire breath gets a bit intense!”.
About an hour earlier, Amiee had walked along minding her own business when a rock appeared out of nowhere and tripped her (Amiee wasn’t exactly the most careful person in the world, so it’s possible the rock was there the whole time, and she simply failed to adjust her course). Mary found her a few moments later, unconscious. Since she woke up, after having only been unconscious for a minute, things started getting strange.
“What happened?”, Mary asked as she peered at the wound on Amiee’s forehead.
“I must have tripped”, Amiee responded.
“Well, we’d better get that cleaned out”, Mary said as she guided Amiee toward her home. Her mother, Mrs. Black, came outside as the girls approached.
“What happened!?! Did anyone else see her trip? What’s going on?”, she asked, and Amiee let Mary explain the short story of it. Amiee couldn’t help but notice that something was different about Mrs. Black. She was moving from side to side, as if she couldn’t keep comfortable in her own skin. As they were washing out the cut, Mary spoke of her mother.
“Sorry about Mom – she always needs to be about everyone’s business. She means well though”. Mary said. Once they finished up, they returned to the park where they’d both been walking. It was there that Amiee saw the strangest bird. It appeared to be wearing a black hat and cloak. Why would a bird be wearing clothing?
“Look at that bird”, Amiee exclaimed.
“What? It’s just a mourning dove”, Mary said as she glanced at the animal.
“But why is he wearing black clothing?”, Amiee said. She was relieved when Mary failed to respond with something challenging her view of the bird.
“Well because he’s a mourning dove, silly! Never have quite understood whom they mourn for though.”, Mary said in reply.
Amiee was amazed, and while she stood there thinking, Mary pulled her to the side as a whooshing sound was heard, and the wind swished by them. Amiee saw something flash past, multiple colors and sounds intermingling, but she couldn’t figure out what it was.
“Those boys always rush through here like a freight train”, Mary said. Amiee was astounded – they certainly had. What was going on here? How did one small trip change the world into a place where there was no such thing as a figure of speech, everything was literally as it sounded.
“Mary”, Amiee began, “Did anything out of the ordinary happen while I was unconscious”.
“No, not that I can think of”, Mary said. “You hit your head and cut it, and were out for a moment or two. Nothing happened here”.
“But everything that we talk about is literally occurring”, Amiee said.
“Of course it is – it would be strange if I had told you something different from what was really happening, right?”, Mary replied.
“No – it’s hard to explain Mary, but before I hit my head, I was in a world where we used language differently – we spoke about things using examples. The mourning dove was named because of its call similar to a cry – not because he was really in mourning”, Amiee said.
Mary looked at her for a moment, trying to figure out what was wrong with her friend.
“I think we should go to the hospital”, Mary said, and Amiee reluctantly agreed. As they walked into the emergency room, Amiee slumped over in her friend’s arms, and the attendants took her quickly into examination.
“Amiee”, a voice said as Amiee opened her eyes and began to focus. It was her mother.
“Mrs. Black called me and told me that you were here – I drove like lightning to get here”. Amiee was relieved that she didn’t see any visible scorch marks on her mother.
“Mom… my head hurts”, Amiee said.
“I know it does sweetie, but it will get better. You were out for about 10 minutes, and it had us very worried when you were groggy for so long. You had a fever, but that seems to have broken now”. her mother explained.
“What happened?”, Amiee asked.
“When you hit your head and cut yourself, you stumbled into a bush. Apparently you’re allergic to something in it, and the cut made the allergy even worse.”, her mother said.
“Mom, do fireflies breathe fire?”, Amiee asked.
“Of course they don’t, honey”, her mother chuckled.
“Language is weird”, Amiee said, as she smiled at her mom.