Sunday, June 04, 2006

The ones we never know


I've been playing in my yard. Giggling and laughing. Running around.

My parents had been uneasy yesterday. My mother was gruff, my father just silent. Sometimes, when he looks like that and I look in his eyes, it just makes me nervous.

Seeing him so sad makes me nervous.

So I started singing a song.

I was just trying to cheer him up, to make him smile.

Mother told me I was being silly -- I was being silly! That was the whole point. Right before she told me to be quiet, I saw Father kind of smile.

I told myself, "I will work harder at dinner. I will make him smile. And I will make him laugh."

I think he is so sad all the time because there is no work. There is no work for anyone. It has been that way for a long time, so long, I don't remember it being any other way.

I thought about that some and decided that when I grew bigger, I would make money. I would make lots and lots of money and I would give it to Father and he would be so happy. He would smile like he does in the old pictures.

Mother says he used to smile all the time. She says I should remember that because, "you are not that young."

When mother talks about it, I feel like I can almost remember better days. Like there was a time when we were walking through town and I remember her laughing. But what I really remember was Mother making me laugh and making others laugh too. Grown ups.

I remember that and remember being so happy. Proud too because I had a smart and funny mother.

People do not laugh too much these days. People do not laugh much at all.

I think I forget the old days because they are not coming back. I said that to my father and he said that was nonsense.

He said some day things would be good again. He really wanted me to believe that. You know that look parents get when they are trying real hard to convince you of something? He had that look.

To make him feel better, I nodded and pretended like I could see a "better." But I really couldn't.

I don't think about it much now, the "better." I just know that no matter how sad it gets, I have the yard.

My yard. I am the boss there. Me and me alone. I play what I want and as I want. I pretned lots of fun stuff.

"What would it be like if my pretend was real?" I asked my mother the other day.

"You'd probably be a princess and I'd be stuck being the only queen who had to clean her own palace," my mother joked.

That is not true. I would dream people to help her.

I started wondering, "Why can't my pretend be real?"

If things are so bad, why not just pretend?

I was very serious. Why do I have to stop pretending when I leave the yard and come in for dinner?

I asked that.

Mother said, "Because you cannot pretend your life away."

Father smiled me and winked. Then he said, "She can pretend forever if she wants. George W. Bush does."

We all laughed.

George W. Bush is always good for a laugh. I do not know who he is but I know he causes laughter. I know he causes more than laughter when I am supposed to be asleep or supposed to be out of hearing range. Sometimes I think he must be a real person and sometimes I think he must be a demon created to scare little kids.

I am not so little as I was. I am growing. I am big. Everyone says that, they say, "You are growing." I am too.

When you are bigger things get less scary. Like ants. When you are as big as me, you look down from so high that they are so small that even though they sting you with their bites, you are not scared of them anymore than you are scared of a fly.

I am not scared of strangers no more. I used to be. I used to rush to hide behind Mother anytime I saw a stranger. Now I just wave. Sometimes they say something and I say something back. That's how it goes when you get bigger.

I see a stranger who has come by twice now. I think I will go talk now.

MONDAY, MAY 15, 2006
In Wajihiya, Reuters notes the death of a seven-year-old girl and well as the wounding of at least "seven members of her family" after their home was hit with by "a mortar round."
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