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you are not there

We are taking the little one for a ride on her new sled. It is bright orange, with a fuzzy black and white seat cover to keep her extra warm. Her tiny hands in tiny gloves hold the sides as tight as she can. I pull her down a path, shouting "woohooo" and then she replies "woohoo". N's turn is next, pulling her more schoolgirl than mother for a few minutes. There are other parents with children on sleds passing us. Their eyes straight forward, faces completely blank they slip by in silence. I flash a smile to them, and they do not even look at me. I am not there, just another tree leaning towards the stream that runs below.

There are ducks still, flapping around the brackish water and we throw pieces of stale bread to them. I start to think, not about the complete absence of smiles in this culture. I stopped asking about that long ago, told over and again that smiles are reserved for home, behind closed doors. But I wonder, for the children -  these wiggling bu…

The First Night

She went from room to room, peering in, clicking all of the light switches on the walls. She opened drawers, and flushed the toilet. She made a quiet, funny face to me.

"Pop, I found some sponges." She said, opening a lower closet door and pointing at them.

We left our bags in a pile in the middle of the the floor and went out for sushi. She sat next to me, propping one elbow on my arm. We toasted, speaking in low voices as we watched the glittering holiday lights reflected in the giant windows.

"Can I see the mermaid horse when we go outside?" She asked me.

We bought chocolates and water and toilet paper and went upstairs. I turned on The Chordettes, and we danced to Lollipop and A Girl's Work is Never Done. We danced like we were airplanes, running from room to room. I threw her into her air, watching our reflections in a tall set of mirrors. We danced for hours. We made a necklace from purple thread, with yellow beads shaped like stars. She squeezed out a bottle of glitter glue across them, and on a leftover piece of furniture we had made into a low desk.

I made her a bed from a little couch that had been in the kitchen for some reason. Spreading out the fresh set of cartoon sheets, she jumped on them. "This is MY bed." She said, and I nodded a big yes. A set of shelves decorated the walls, with sliding glass fronts on them. She filled one of them with her dolls, and slid the glass closed, making a sort of museum exhibit.

She found a tiny heart-shaped pillow in one of them. It said "I love you." She gave it to me, laughing. I gave it back to her.

Comments

Stefanya said…
you are a great pop.

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