Isabel played dead all the time. She played dead on the grass, on the sand, at home, with friends. They all played dead. It wasn’t a scary Sandy Hook kind of playing dead, where the raison d’etre is to avoid getting killed by the psychopath killer, but more of a story-telling playing dead, one that provides an impetus for a continuation of the story, a resurrection and rebirth in the game that is being played. You die, you live again, and the story continues.
I remember being that young and playing dead – and there was a pressing of the pause button in that death, a pause where the future freezes and you’re in that moment forever. The future stops, you'll never get old. I remember that, being 8 and seeing 13 year olds and being aware of the unflinching responsibilities that would weigh down on you when you were that old. I remember that sense of foreboding.
Because as soon as you hit around 8 years of age, you are fully aware that you’re not going to be that age forever, that the golden moments of childhood privilege and lack of responsibility are going to end and you’ll be 1,3 one day, with a life and responsibilities that are a weight on an 8-year-old’s shoulders. And when you’re 13, you realise you’ll be 16 one day, and when you’re 16 it’s 18, then it’s 20, 25, 30, and then you realise it’s never ending. Playing dead is a rehearsal for life. Until you die. And that’s when you stop playing dead forever.