He was a gift, the little dragon, from someone who meant a lot to me but whom I never could understand. We were close but she kept herself unknowable. I knew all her stories but only the emotionless versions. But we were great complements: I tamed her too-reckless plans and she taught me not to bring too much worry to adventure.
She was gone for a few days, once, traveling to visit family, and brought this little dragon home to me. A token of friendship, she said, and his smile made her think of me. I haven't seen or spoken to her in a very long time. Her tumultuous life took a few more tumultuous turns. My more cautious life took a more predictable trajectory. The two couldn't dovetail too fluidly. But I always have my dragon and her fingerprint on my memories. She was a good influence on me, even if our stories put to paper wouldn't read that way.
Sometimes in the traffic congestion of bedtime one kid or another will brush teeth in our bathroom. Tell me about the dragon, I'm occasionally asked. He's a memento, I just say, an old memory with a broad smile.
This post was inspired by the novel A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra, and the particular story lines of the beefeater figurine and the suitcase of souvenirs. In a war torn Chechnya, a young fatherless girl, a family friend, and a hardened doctor struggle with love and loss. Join From Left to Write on May 20 as we discuss Anthony Marra's debut novel. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.