Was That Better?
Was that Better?
“There are days when I remember things that never happened,” I remarked.
“Well, of course there are,” Mother said, although she was paying more attention to the sky than to what I was saying. “But the interesting thing you’ll notice as you get older, is that sometimes you discover that other people remember those same things that didn’t happen. Imaginary events can become a story, or a shared experience.”
We were walking up a road in the town where we had gone to visit friends. It was a pleasant smaller town, with good coffee and a café that served all the proper things one might need. I missed the ocean, but the sky was pretty enough to pause and regard there on the hillside. That made me remember another thing.
“Do you recall that little green-haired boy?” I asked, as Mother took a sip from her water bottle. “The one that used to stand on the windowsill outside my second-floor bedroom, and knock to be let in whenever the moon reached the halfway point?” Mother smiled slightly and nodded to me.
“Of course,” she said. “That particular boy knocks on a lot of windows. I let him into my own bedroom when I was a young girl.”
I suppose this shouldn’t have been a surprise. He’s been known to keep in touch with families. I took a sip of my own water.
“Did you ever go with him?” I asked her. She smiled again, more broadly.
“Yes, but I made it clear that the last thing I was going to do was look after a bunch of wild boys,” she said. “I went because I wanted to see where he lived, and it was a truly beautiful, wild place. And I also went because of the obvious thing.”
“But you came back,” I said quietly. She looked at me with no smile now, but it didn’t bother me.
“So did you,” she said. “And why was that?”
“Because it wasn’t home,” I said equably. “At some point I got sad and was ready to return.” She nodded again.
“Yes,” she said. “I, too, came back because the wild place wasn’t home.” She was silent for a moment. “Was it worth the trip, for you?”
“Of course,” I said. I smiled, the full smile that I don’t get to use much. Her eyes changed, then, and she smiled back.
“Yes, by leaving for that one night,” she said, “we did learn to fly.”