I worried about the fireworks, but Leida’s counselor thought it was time she learned to cope with her fears.
So, we started with pictures of fire works. Once Leida was comfortable with the concept and beauty of fireworks, I showed her a fireworks video I’d made a few years before. Each time we watched, I put the volume up a bit. Accidentally, I cranked up the volume and the boom and Leida’s scream echoed through the apartment.
I would never understand or truly know the horrors she had been through. I hadn’t lived in a war zone. A door slam was a bomb. Microwave popcorn was machine gun fire. Low flying planes made her duck for cover.
So there we were on the 4th of July, sitting on the window seat waiting for the show to begin. I had earplugs in for Leida, and had told her she could cover her ears, too, if she wanted.
We were both nervous. Her hand shook against mine. I reassured her that no buildings would be destroyed. No families ripped apart. No death. No grief. Concentrate on the colors and patterns, not on the noise. The sparkles would gently fade out. This was a celebration, not a war.
The first canister went off with a loud bang, and a series of pops as each package of gunpowder exploded to reveal the beauty within. Leida let go of my hand, and ran out of the room. She had gone to hide under something.
I closed the curtains, shut the window, and put on some of my music she liked. I sat in the rocking chair and waited. A tear-stained Leida appeared in the door way.
“Can we still have popcorn?,” she asked.
“Of course. I’ll go make it.”
“Can I?,” she asked. Her first turn at it.
Machine gun popcorn this 4th, maybe fireworks the next.