No need to hurry. No need to sparkle. No need to be anybody but oneself. — Virginia Woolf
The high school football game was over; they had beaten their arch-enemies from across town. The stands were almost empty, but her little brother was missing. She waited and waited. He didn’t show up. She panicked. She had heard stories about the gangs from the other school. She just knew they were beating up her brother, somewhere, as a payback for their loss. She found a pay phone and called the police. Crying, her fears burst forth. The police came and searched the grounds. No brother. She finally called her mother, sobbing.
Her little brother was at home. Just a few minutes before the football game ended, he had gone to the bathroom. When he came out, he saw that everyone was exiting the stands. He couldn’t find his sister, so he went home.
(This was way before cell phones were invented.)
The scariest moment came when she walked past the water heater in the garage. The next thing she knew, she was standing out on the driveway, screaming. She didn’t remember running out of the garage, but she knew why: she had heard that rattled warning. The rattlesnake at the bottom of the water heater was coiled and more than a little agitated. She had passed within inches of it.
I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I’m not
sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant. — Robert McCloskey