charming girl coloring drawing on easter day at home

Parts Work

28 days of flash — 15 of 28 — Non fiction essay

She’s still here.

She’s buried under a clutter of crumpled paper, blank journals, and wasted keystrokes. Her giggles echo amid her whispers as she reads to herself from the dark green books filled with poetry and big words, not really understanding anything but knowing everything.

On days when I’ve reached for her hand and come back with a mess of paper cuts and smeared ink, I know she’s still trying to draw the dog with the blue marker. Other times she hands me the stuffed panda missing its nose, oil pastels worn down to pebbles, or the little box that still plays Hickory Dickory Dock. She disappears in her books, hangs from stairway railings and then off the window of an open truck door as it rounds a corner. She watches the pavement speed underneath her feet, like water flowing under a canal catwalk. She’s broken her nose and her arm, possibly a finger once, but her spirit’s still whole.

She still wants to draw everything in the world exactly as it looks and copy the stories out of the encyclopedias so she’s never wrong. She hopes to be as brave as her big sister and have her own garden, too. She doesn’t yet know that adults don’t have it all figured out. She accepts them as necessary and stays out of their way.

She’s ever there, living on the white bread peanut butter sandwiches she pulls from the air. She sits on the hood of a yellow car at the Frostop Drive In. She’s clapping to songs she makes up while contemplating her sticky chocolate ice cream-covered face and hands. She can’t touch anything. She wants to touch everything and leave her mark.

She sits in the rocking chair, straight blue dress and straight sandy hair, and moves to a melody that she learned before she got here. She reminds me of all I have yet to relearn. She knows I’m reaching down to her again. My little self, she’s waiting to play on the swings again, lose ourself in the library stacks again, and the day we declare the rest of our time to be all play. Maybe that will be today.


About Christine Wilcox Anderson

Writer, former corporate communications exec, and perpetual student of life on this rock.
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