heather

childrens-booksThe following is my favorite creative writing piece from school for which the research, writing, and subsequent readings always brought a smile:

One is immediately taken with the incongruity of it all, but then children tend to be that way. Walking dichotomies . . . aggregate beings comprised of scraps collected from countless contrary realms . . . the Raggedy Anns and Andys of the Divine mind, who are at once simple and complex. Part dream . . . part reality. Part light . . . part dark. Part temporal . . . part eternal. Part good . . . part bad.

In truth, adults are no different from the children we were and those we see around us – it’s just that we’ve learned to conceal that beneath our matrix of façades. But young children have no such luxury; they are at any given moment fully themselves with sheer and utter abandon – and how exasperating that can be for those of us who have forgotten the ecstasy of being that energetic little bundle of unreserved self.

The inspiration for the above musings came in the form of a very vocal, very determined, very adorable, three-foot-tall Asian pixie.

From mere outward appearances she came across as a tiny wisp of a girl – rather more like a China doll than a child. I half expected her to turn around, revealing a pair of opalescent little wings and a wry smile, just before dematerializing in a sparkling poof of fairy dust while letting her big purple balloon drift helplessly to the ceiling. Alas, no such thing was to happen. Soon enough reality reared its raucous head and demanded my full attention.

The jet-black hair was long and straight, falling halfway down her back. In it, a headband of bright turquoise, topped off with a pink fabric flower, framed the round porcelain face and dark eyes which shined out attentively. The knee-length jumper dress was denim and the long-sleeved shirt underneath pink.

The aforementioned balloon, attached to her right wrist with a long pink ribbon, stood more than twice her height over her head like a trusted sentinel. But the most conspicuous component of her attire was a huge pair of chunky, clunky, white tennis shoes. It looked as though two big puffy marshmallows attacked her feet, consumed the lower half of her socks, and solidified right there on the spot.

For all her apparent daintiness, any word or movement quickly dispelled the original impression. She actively clomped around, horse-like, in her big marshmallow shoes, repetitiously moving back and forth between the bookshelves and the child-size table – pausing only long enough to glance at her latest acquisition.

She seemed to know exactly what she wanted at any given moment and was completely unhindered in its pursuit, but this tremendous decisiveness was accompanied by an amazing degree of fickleness as she was always quick to lose interest. Her attention to the children’s books was curious and inquisitive but, at the rate she went through them, I had to hope she would go easier on the men in her life when she got older – luckily books don’t have egos or feelings to hurt.

Her mother and older brother had been in the area off-and-on, and she seemed amiable enough when they were present. Indeed, she noisily chattered with them whenever they were around, but even when they weren’t she did so to herself.

At one point, the three of them were around the table and “Heather” (as I heard her mother call her) tried to sit in one of the chairs after yet another trip to the bookshelves. It was a child’s chair made to fit the table, but it was still a bit too high for her to get into without a struggle. True to her determined nature she made it happen, but it was an amusing spectacle.

In retrospect, the whole experience was very entertaining; it took a lot of self-control to keep from constantly giggling or losing my observational discretion by becoming too entranced with this little fireball. She did catch me watching her a few times and it was difficult to pretend it was merely coincidence, but her young age (probably around 4) and short attention span saved me.

If I were forced to come up with a two-word description of this little study in contrasts named Heather it would have to be this: unbridled delicacy.
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Artistic Kudos: Pixabay.com/WokinghamLibraries

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