The light is on in the corner, blinking rhythmically. The light in front of me is steady; it keeps the blinking light from becoming irritating. I would change the bulb, but that would require a trip to the grocery store and for the moment, I am ill prepared to walk out of my house. I have yet to brush my teeth and I fear the sunshine would sting. Sunshine and I have a weird relationship. I know it is beautiful and fresh, but I don’t care for it soaking into my skin. I prefer the warmth coming from the concrete, waking my soles.
As a kid, I loved the sun. I spent a great amount of time outside and bare foot, running in the grass just for the sake of motion. I am white, but I was so tan that I looked either Hispanic or Native American, my features tentative, but with a ready smile. I climbed trees, picked their leaves creating fall as I let them slip through my fingers. I brought pans from the kitchen and made mud with water from the hose and dirt. From the mud, I shaped little mud men and women, placed them on chairs I created from grass and let them dry in the sun. Once dry, I dressed them in strips of white cotton that had been torn from an old sheet.
Light then seemed always outside of myself. I didn’t mind because I unconsciously radiated. Now, as I am fifty-two, I am glad I sense the light within, the light that holds fast to my soul allowing me to breathe in love and exhale love. Spirit is good to me. Spirit allows me to stand tall in the warmth of the world, recognizing that all is not violent outside of my body. The world is a violent place, but not always. There are always moments of bright light even in a dim hall. Eventually, I will walk out of the house today, knowing the sun won’t burn me, knowing that light is lighter than dark, but not fearing the depth that dark might play. I shine; for this I am grateful
There she was in the library. About four. Wearing a red tutu with little shoes that had lace socks frothing over the top. Her brown hair hanging straight down from her center part. She says to her mother, “I want a real movie.” I think, “what does that mean? No more Toy Story? No more Shrek?”
How do we lose our innocence? And what does that even mean? Is it when we are exposed to sex and violence? When good does not always win out over evil? I was about seven when I walked in on my parents having sex. I thought my father was killing my mother based on the fact of my mother’s moans. I ran away across the house, hiding in my closet. When the closet is not hiding monsters, it always seems like the safest place to be. I can’t remember if either of them came to find me. I am certain I emerged for dinner and was pleasantly surprised to see mother tossing a salad with tomatoes and avocado.
Still around seven-years-old, my parents took me and my younger sisters to a drive in theater to watch Death Wish. Death Wish has a violent rape scene within the first fifteen minutes of the movie. I remember feeling shame for my father for making such a bad choice in movies. Shame–maybe that’s what stole my innocence like that first paper cut…paper no longer just something to write on.
I don’t know if the little girl got her “real movie.” I do know how real Pinnochio is. Hopefully, the little girl will learn that things are not always as they seem. Good is not always good, and bad is not always bad and hopefully any confusion works itself out like a tortoise with its head out, waddling its way on a muddy sidewalk. Smell the mud. The mud is real. What better to enliven the senses than earth? Earth always has a way of being innocent and not innocent in the same breath. Allow the sun to harden the mud, the mud to crack, and then be washed away by a hose, leaving the sidewalk friendly. It really does all come out in the wash. I remember the froth of the lace socks. That is innocence.