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running away with the circus (looking for dolphins)

There are three of them, a brazen woman with bright eyes and a big voice, a man going grey with a hop in his step and a younger woman who might be their daughter or their niece that twists her short hair into little tufts. They roam the hotel, sometimes in elaborate costumes, letting us know that there will be a secret dance party near the ballroom in an hour.

The older woman strolls in during dinner in a costume of blinking Christmas lights and exotic face paint. V stares up at her, convinced she is a princess or a fairy or maybe both. The next night, she is all in black, great horns wobbling on her head. She always has a pair of black Converse high tops on, as if they go with every costume or maybe they are the only shoes she owns.

The man is typically dressed as a pirate, in a striped shirt, maybe an eye patch. He is perfectly relaxed, like his limbs are made of silly straws. The younger woman is always smiling, her mouth a wall of metal braces and lip gloss. I imagine they sleep …

adjustments


E does not draw people with one eye any more. She draws pictures of her favorite super heroes now. No more imagined street scenes of New York, no cool girls in high school with striped socks and skinny legs. There is one headphone in her ear most of the time, if not both. She has a soundtrack to her life, pop music on a perpetual repeat. It isn't that I am against these things. She is almost eleven and her life is becoming her own. Every parent wishes for that. It is just an adjustment for me, always imagining her as that little bird that wanted to marry Spongebob, the girl with the box of magic markers and a wild imagination. 

Her guitar stands in the corner of the room like in so many films from the 80s - an idea, a prop, a smart thing to fill space collecting dust. I bring V into the room once or twice a day to bang on it a little, her tiny hand resting on the neck all whoops and howls yanking the strings half by accident. Guitars need to be played or they dry up. They need warm hands and attention. 

A camera stands on a tripod. E is making pictures she does not show me. Maybe they are presents for her friends on their birthday. Maybe they are just an idea and she does not finish them. I don't pressure her. Of course she knows I want to see them but I do not push. She has her own ideas, her own mysteries. 

Sometimes I feel like an asshole, reminding her to wash out her lunch box, to brush her teeth, to take a shower, to clean her room, to throw out a garbage bag sitting on her floor for three days. I am the other soundtrack that repeats reminders, lame chores and sorry news. But, she does her homework all by herself. 

She keeps tabs on my progress as I edit the film she acted in. E hovers behind me, mouth twisted as she studies the software, the cutting of masks, the color correction, the stabilization, the grain removal, the grain going back, the finessing. She knows this takes a lot of time and when I think it is getting there, I show it to her. She approves of this tiny face on the screen from a year and a half ago, from a different life. 









Comments

liv said…
All these changes in the things she is now concentrating on. The leaving behind of the "little" thoughts, the thoughts that 1 digit children think and dream. 2 digits is another world. Sigh. For me, a bit sad - nostalgic. But also exciting, she is endlessly full of surprises!

And the picture, thank you - a very sweet treat.

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