A little boy, barely four, diligently scooped powdered gravel into a little plastic bag. He was at the base of a large mound of gravel resting at the edge of a construction site.A busy little blob from where I stood on the second floor of the construction site. His house stood across the site. At the door his sister, maybe a year older, urged him to hurry. The boy was focussed on his task, his hand moved rhythmically, at an even pace.
An overseer of the construction site walked past. He cursed the boy, ordering him to scoot, startling the little fellow. The boy stood up, eyes wide with anxiety, hand clutching his almost filled plastic bag. The overseer had probably forgotten the boy as he slipped into the cavernous site. But his booming voice hung heavy in the air. The boy was still standing, his hand continued clutching the bag, he was absolutely still, probably in anticipation of his bag being emptied, or his face being slapped.
His sister ran across, snatched the bag from him and scurried back to their doorstep. The boy's eyes continued searching for the next stroke of intimidation. His hand continued clutching the remains of the handle that was attached to the plastic bag.
For a little child, time must seem frozen, and fear more concrete.
His sister had to run back and yank him into a more fluid sense of time, where fear and intimidation are routine enough to be brushed away.