Emmet’s eyes were fixed blankly on the blaring television where a sitcom was playing with loud canned laughter. At the "Happy Trails, Old Folks Home," residents were aimlessly milling around the poorly lit sitting room.
"It's time to take your medicine, Emmet, be a good boy and open up." said the nurse. He obediently opened his mouth, avoiding her eyes. She dumped several pills from a small plastic cup, followed by water from another cup. As she walked away, he took a couple of the unswallowed pills out of his mouth and hid them at the base of the artificial plant next to his wheelchair.
His attention was drawn to a bird singing in a tree outside the window. The Florida sun was beautiful and the garden inviting, but for some reason, he felt afraid when his gaze shifted to the door that led outside.
There were floating particles of dust reflected in a sunbeam. As Emmet watched their movement, he thought of how they looked like dancing snowflakes. He always liked the snow and the winter.
His eyes took on a faraway stare, and Emmet went home.
It was another blistery winter morning. The wind blew white snow dunes over the frozen lake surface. The North Carolina Mountains framed the scene, turning it into a picture postcard vision. Large snowflakes were falling, and no footprints marred the pristine white surface of the hill that led to the house.
Emmet had just received a brand new sled for Christmas and was about to take his maiden voyage. He tightened his cap, knotted his scarf, and with his belly to sled, he launched his red rocket down the hill.
The sharp sting of the cold wind on his face and the excitement mixed with fear at the increasing speed as exhilarating. He reached the edge of the lake, and the momentum shot him out onto the ice traveling at the speed of light. The wind became silent, and his screams of eight-year-old delight echoed in the stillness of the air.
Suddenly a deafening alarm sounded and brought Emmet abruptly back to his wheelchair. He noticed a woman had attempted to go out the garden door. She looked confused and frightened as an aide led her away after resetting the alarm.
He vaguely remembered something about a bird as he returned to staring at the tree with the now empty branch.