He was four: She was somewhat older; Neither of them calculated or cared about the difference in age. They were friends. They played well together. Each of them conceded to him the final decision in all matters. They played Thomas the Train: She could never be Thomas. They played robots: She could never be the designer or the finished robot. They built wonderful toys; although, sometimes, she got the pieces snatched from her hands and an impatient, impromptu lecture on what’s proper construction procedure and what isn’t. He especially liked that she never wanted first choice of the best toy, but left that to him. They played and played and played. They could play for hours with the game getting bigger and better and more skillfully executed and then be interrupted, only to return at the same point the next time they were together and there be no noticeable interruption.
He was moving; she wasn’t. The hours of play became more important. She knew it; he sensed it. The garage was full of the clutter of living and accumulating, and, more recently, with the frenzy of moving. Return this…give away that…throw that away (oh, or shall we keep it?)…too much stuff with no seeming order.
He had an amazing idea. Amazing ideas struck him frequently and they always were amazing—to him, and to her. Let’s play pirates in the garage! She wanted to, but there were quite a few obstacles. He saw her look and started nipping the excuses in the bud. Don’t worry; I know how to do it. Just follow me. Remember, she was older and bigger and didn’t always fit into the spaces he consigned to them. (There was that tent made on the backs of two dining chairs that he wanted to virtually live in for over a week. Her knees knew the price of compliance.) He started into that garage maze with the confidence of B’rer Rabbit diving into the briar patch. She was not quite so confident. Wait, Wait, do we really need to go over the top of that chest of drawers that isn’t stabilized by anything? His eyes take on the quality of imminent disappointment, No, but it will be more fun. Well, hey, fun is the reason for this, isn’t it? Somehow she makes it over the top and down the other side. Now we have to get down and go under this stuff like a snake. You remember how to be a snake, don’t you? It’s easy, like making the letter S on the ground. C’mon. It didn’t take ME that long. Now we just need to climb up on this shelf, and scoot sideways on our bottoms (Aren’t you proud that I said bottom and not that other word?) until we get to the middle shelf and then we take that rope off the wall and I climb up first and pull you up after me and then we stack those two big boxes on top of each other and make steps up the very top shelf right under the rafters. His amazing plan worked. This is great, huh? The precariousness of getting there wasn’t great, but then she did have to admit, it felt just like being pirates to sit there and see everything that was going on in the neighborhood without being seen. They were grandiose adventurers. They were pirates extraordinaire. He remembered that they didn’t bring snacks or swords—maybe they should go get them. She thought they were just fine, and just this once, he agreed. Look, the mailman is coming. They giggle. They poke each other with the camaraderie of being together in a secret. They look at each other with knowing looks and winks. The mailman drops the mail in the box at the front door and as he goes in front of the garage, HE WAVES. They giggle. They poke each other with the camaraderie of being together in a conspiracy. They look at each other with knowing looks and winks. Being discovered is as much fun as being hidden.
Their descent will be another story.
Posted by The Editor for Gigi