He is playing in his backyard – as he has done all his long, boring five years – when his mum calls him in. It’s been like this for the past couple of years. He’s not allowed to play outside when the sun is high or when it’s setting, only in between.
He hears his mum urging him to come inside, but he wants to play one more minute, especially as he is enjoying these firework-like whistles. He’s used to hearing them by now, but his mum never allows him to stay and watch the colour that comes with the bang, exactly as she is doing now.
But today something isn’t right. “Why are these whistles getting nearer and nearer?” he thinks. They are supposed to go up and up, and then all colours should emerge. He thinks it’s good his mother is coming to tell him what it is – although suddenly the only colour he can see is black.
He and his mother barged into my A&E department, she shouting for help while he lies still on her wounded body.
“Why all these white clothed men and women running toward me, ouch, why are they putting needles in my arms? Why are those needles hurting me so much, or are they? Why is this man frowning at me, and is that my mum’s voice crying? I swear I won’t do it again, I only wanted to play one more minute.”
I looked into his big, green eyes, but he didn’t look back. His mother by that time looked as dead as he was, repeating over and over again: “I was just one minute late.”
That’s just one more number to add – isn’t it?