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no invitation

We are at a 3 year old's birthday party in the back room of a cafe. Music is pumping from a tiny speaker. Balloon animals are popping, and waving in the air. A man in a yellow dinosaur costume dances wildly. Parents snap pictures with satisfied smiles on their faces.

A little girl approaches gingerly and stands in the doorway, straying from her parents somewhere inside the restaurant. She cannot be more than three. It must be hard to ignore all of the noise coming from this room packed with celebration. There is a perfect little pony tail at the back of her head. She hesitates, as one foot poises in the air and then rests back down. How to understand that she was not invited. How to understand the laughter, the loose jumping bodies, the presents piled high on the window. None of this connects to her. There is a little plate of food waiting for her back there, in the quiet restaurant. Maybe a warm bowl of soup, thick with noodles. I watch her for some time.

That night, her empty e…

A peaceful song

E asks me to help her with some English homework. There will be a Christmas play, and she is singing Silent Night in it. I am working late, and am half-listening to her. She starts off fine, but then repeats part of the melody and veers off course.

All at once, I put the work aside for the day and find the chords to play. I pull out the orange Gretsch and we go at it. She is smiling now, eyes looking right into me.
"Do you want to sing it with me?" She asks.
I nod.
We go again, and she is laughing.
"What?" I ask.
"I was just thinking we should make a movie about us singing together and you could put it as your Monday story." She explains.
"That sounds like something." I answer.

We play it again, and N comes home.
She sits at the kitchen table, and we play it one more time for her to hear.
E skips around the kitchen afterwards, then into the hallway as she disappears.
"Is it very Serge and Charlotte Gainsbourg?" I ask her after a moment.
"Just enough.' She says, patting my knee. "Just enough."




Comments

liv said…
That was the BEST Christmas present EVER!!!!

What fun! Thank you so much and a very, very Merry Christmas to all of you!

bette wanderman said…
You are killing me gently of course with the amazingly beautiful performance. Looking forward to twinkle twinkle.
Suzette Sommer said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Suzette Sommer said…
You two put tears in my eyes.

So much love.

Hugs.

Suzette

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