Late-night chat and The Room Upstairs

9 07 2003

I knew George was drifting off by the pre-snoring breathing patterns coming from his side of the bed.

At that moment, I felt a tickle on my cheek. Like something crawling across my pillow. It was probably just my hair, but still. Ewww. The thought of what it might be was too yucky to ignore. Propping up on my elbow, I brushed off my pillow with my free hand. Just in case.

The movement must have half-wakened him. He jerked slightly and said, “What?”

“‘What’ what?” I asked.

“Did you say something?” His voice was thick with drowsiness.

“No.”

“Are you sure you didn’t say something?”

“Yes.”

“Well, do you have anything to say?”

“No, not really.”

“I thought you always have something to say.” He snuggled closer and threw an arm around me.

“No, I’m just going to sleep.”

“Okay. If you’re sure you don’t have anything to say . . . ”

“I’m sure.” I doubt he heard that response. His breathing and the fact that his arm felt like it weighed 50 lbs assured me he was sound asleep again. Ah, my sweet, attentive husband. So eager to grasp at any pearl of truth, wisdom, or wit that might distill from my lips, regardless of the time of day or night. I’ll have to keep a stock of pithy proverbs handy so I won’t disappoint him next time.

The Room Upstairs

When you are four years old, an attic staircase is an irresistable temptation. Steeper and narrower than a regular staircase, it beckons to a young explorer like Mt. Everest calls to adventurous men. Adding to the allure, the stairs end at a door. No landing. No hallway. Just a door. A french door, with a filmy curtain hanging on the other side. Which means that the light in the room behind that door teases and taunts. The stairs themselves are shadowy, making the room at the top even more enchanting in a scary sort of way, like the sole light in the tower window of an abandoned mansion.

“Look! These stairs are just like a ladder!” he called, as he climbed up on elbows and knees to enhance the experience. He stopped half-way and turned to look at me with widened eyes.

“What’s up there, Supermodel?”

Well, the prosaic answer would have been: a spacious bedroom with a built-in drafting table, bookshelves, and all of Luke’s band equipment.

“Dirt,” I answered. It was the truth. George has all his soil samples up there for his current research.

His eyes widened more. Dirt! A mysterious room at the top of ladder-stairs, and inside a young pirate will actually find dirt? Too good to be true.

His two-year-old brother joined him on the stairs, also crawling up on elbows and knees, stopping half-way. They trembled with the excitement of it all. Did they dare approach the luminous door, behind which lies (she said it was true, so it must be true) dirt?

“Come on, Supermodel! Let’s go look at the MUD!!!” He shouted with glee. His dad heard him and joined me in the hall.

“What mud?” the dad asked, as though keeping mud in one’s attic room is an odd convention.

“George has his soil samples up there,” I answered matter-of-factly.

“Better come on down, kids,” their dad said. “I’m sure Mr. George would prefer you didn’t get into his soil.”

I sensed their disappointment, but I also knew that, when you’re a little kid . . . or a grown-up kid . . . half the fun is imagining the adventure. Sometimes reality has a hard time living up to expectations. Moments later the boys were dogs, and the mud was forgotten. Dogs have important business to attend to. Things to carry in their mouths. Like photographs found on Supermodel’s shelf. (Thus the aforementioned apology in my last post.) Childhood should be filled with such delights and endless opportunities to pretend. Children’s lives should be carefree, filled with love and security. Oh, and one more thing. They should all call me Supermodel. The End.


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2 responses

9 07 2003
allenb

Lovely post! I too share your feelings on childhood. Childhood is sacred, it is a temple and innocence is it’s holiest treasure. My neices are 4 years old, they live in a small town far from the ugliness and shades of grey that plague the outside world. Heaven help anyone who dares violate the sanctity of that temple.

And the next time I see my neices, I’m going to teach them to call you Supermodel. 😉

10 07 2003
jeannedamoff

Guard your precious nieces well! They are blessed to have an uncle like you. :o)

You may confuse the darlings if you try to explain who I am and then convince them to call me Supermodel. But hey, I’m not preventing you!

Your comments are a gift. Please know I read each one with gratitude.

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