Friday, April 5, 2013

The casts of characters we assemble

The maple tree in the back yard closest to our dining room has a smooth knot at its base. It's a fairy door, E is convinced, and sometimes she stares at it longingly. She is so sad that our back yard's fairies haven't recognized her as an ally and confidante. She wants so badly for them to trust in her and show themselves.

There is a neighbor girl, a 2nd grader, who lives around the corner. She has a 4th grade brother and the loveliest parents. We pass their house every time we go to the playground and it has become near-ritual to knock on their door and see if they want to come. This girl, she has a name and it's not hard to pronounce. But G, who loves her, won't say it. He runs into her arm for hugs every time he sees her, and even though she spends most of her time swinging and climbing with his big sisters, she often holds G's hand for the walk home. We say goodbye and for days he laments her departure. I just want to see my friend. The girl. He calls for her day in and day out, talking to her in her absence, and then the weekend comes and it's scooter-to-the-playground time and they joyfully reunite.

L has a loose tooth. She will likely lose her first tooth within a week or so. So she's begun talking to the Tooth Fairy.

And then there's my sister. I don't have a sister, but when I was four my mother had a terrible miscarriage and had that baby been born at term, she would have been my sister, and just once, probably decades ago, my mom told me the name they had picked for her and once, just once, probably two years ago, I told this story to E when she first heard of miscarriages and had trouble understanding them. And now she talks to my sister, not unlike how she talks to God.

I talk to characters from my favorite works of fiction. They inhabit me, the characters that most affect me, and become real in my mind. They are touchstones and great listeners and exquisite advice givers, and never mind that their words were written by a ghost somewhere, some author, it's these characters who speak to me. And I always (inside my head) answer back. Just today I tried to quote both Francie and Ella to my E about how to select a library book. They had good systems, both those girls, and I wanted to offer up their ideas.

We spent about an hour in the library today, just she and I, a rare mama/just-one-child outing between the carpool lane after school and swim lesson. It might be a weekly thing. And she sat there, studying the shelves, heavily contemplating the many choices, and I came to the conviction that our friends and confidantes just don't all have to be visible and corporal. They can be around the corner for a little boy too young to cross the street or dial a phone. They can be sketches in our minds interpreting someone else's words. They can be creatures unseen or never-were. They all still offer support and affirm our very selves.

What do you think? Who's in the non-conventional section of your cast of characters?


And unrelated, two pieces of random tonight:

Do you know any tongue-twisters? I'm asking for E, who is having a fascination. We have the woodchuck and Peter Piper and the sea shells by the sea shore. What else have you got?

Also, a thing I have to do. If you've been reading your favorite blogs through Google Reader, you know it's about to be phased out and disappear forever. Right now I'm looking at the choice between Bloglovin, Feedly and The Old Reader, but popular opinion seems to be heading toward Bloglovin. And I need to post this link to "claim" my blog on their platform, and so I am:

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

If none of that made sense to you, you're extra cool for being here. xo

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