On a chilly and dark night, following a memorial day barbecue, I stood by the pond with my cousins. Out on the water floated more relatives busy with night fishing they paid no attention to us, on shore by the fire. We prodded marshmallows into the fire and pulled them out just prior to them catching fire. The fire burned bright, lighting our faces, and warming our frigid forms. It was illuminant with the black forest behind it to contrast. The youngest of us three was seven the oldest was sixteen, I landed somewhere in the middle, closer to the latter than the former. I plucked a marshmallow out of the bag and offered to the younger one whose face was flushed with excitement. Never had she fished or roasted marshmallows or been before an open fire. The restraints of the city had confined her from these simple pleasures. Enthusiasm bleed from her. The older girl and I discussed memories from our juvenility when our minds operated as hers does now, buzzing and leaping with each new discovery.
Suddenly a cry sprang out from our youngest affiliate. We moved to her to amend her situation. She cupped a tiny hand around her cheek and over her eye. Her face held a horrid expression of pain and terror. A wave of realization washed over me when we peeled her hand away, Stuck to her face, just under her eye was a charred white goo. Unable to speak through her sobs of desperation, she was rendered unable to relay to us what had just occurred. With quick thinking I dove into the ice chest and brought a piece of ice to her. As carefully and as gently as possible I abraded the ice over the wound surveying the damage that had been done. A small amount of relief came about with the discovery that the burn had managed to miss her eye. Her face contorted into a mask of distress. Her eyes crinkling, the seared area glowed a violent shade of red with pieces of black char in it, her mouth open enough to release an alarming wail. It was manifest to see the trauma would need more than ice as a remedy.
Holding her hand, I lead her through the dark to the domicile of our grandmother. Our older compatriot scrambled ahead of us, to warn our grandmother of what was coming her way. Upon arrival the situation was broadcast throughout the structure. Leading My injured little cousin to the room of her Grandfather, My uncle.
Adrenaline pumped through my being. With a sudden remembrance of burn cream stored at my own home nearby I took off. I speed to my house in under a minute not allowing anything to obstruct me. I flew through the door that let into a room crowded with people. Two of which being my cousin's parents. Without slowing down I shouted in short what had happened as I ran up the stairs. Clutching the small white bottle full of cream I dashed back down to my grandmother's house. I dispensed some of the elixir onto a cotton pad, handing it to my uncle to administer. Carefully he applied it to her face. When her parents arrived a few seconds later I left the quartet to settle. Soon after the application of the salve, her face relaxed. She relayed to us what had occurred by the fire.
While roasting marshmallows, her marshmallow had caught fire in a frantic act to extinguish the flame she had swung the stick upon which the molten marshmallow was skewered. In this action the recently extinguished treat became dislodged and landed just under the eye of the pint-sized child.