I’m on staycation this week and next, hanging with the kids on their break. Kids–man, I love them, I really do. They’re really cute, Rowan is still cute at 10, though I can see the inkling of the beauty she will become. She has those dark brown eyes where you can’t see the demarcation of the iris. The scientific part of me wonders if any studies have been done on dark brown eyes–after all, we interpret interest (and arousal!) by a dilated iris–if you can’t tell where the pupil ends and the iris begins, does this mean that her type of eyes will be seen by her future boyfriends as more interested than say, a peer with light blue eyes?
But then there is her 4, almost 5 year old, sister. Nova continually makes me laugh and wonder. I made them go on a walk with me today–to get some exercise, fresh air, and vitamin D. We stopped at the amphitheater at Rowan’s school and stayed for awhile. Nova was trying to run up some stairs and tripped up, hitting her shin. She cried for a little while, and then we continued hiking. As we walked, Nova said seriously, “I should’ve hit my femur instead of my shin.”
“Really,” I asked, “why is that?”
“Because the femur is stronger. It wouldn’t hurt as much.” It shouldn’t have surprised me, such a comment from her. She is old beyond her years.
Last night, she found me to come sleep by me, but tossed and turned. She would sit up, and I could see that in the dimness she was silently crying, wiping away her tears with no complaint when they reached her mouth. It started to freak me out. Was she sleep walking? (or sleep crying?) Was she having a nightmare? I wondered if the new book of Grimm fairy tales had been too much.
“Are you okay?” I asked. “Are you having bad dreams?” But she wouldn’t answer. She would just look at me, still crying, no words, no sound. Finally, I took her to the bathroom, I was afraid she was sick. But she wasn’t, she just needed to pee. So strange, she fell right to sleep afterwards. But in the night, everything seems different. Things seem strange.
And this is my story, from my point of view. Nova may not remember much of these days. Rowan, perhaps more. These years seem almost more for me than for them. My happiness, my memories. Though I hope the love I show them will seep into their souls, so that they will recognize it when it comes for them in the future, whether as friends, or lovers, or both.
We are defined by what we love and what we spend time on. I wonder sometimes if our materialistic culture is an avoidance of pain. Loving people, even children, is no guarantee of happiness–loving things could seem more stable. And it is a vulnerability if the people we love are taken away or disappear.
A while ago, I was driving home in the dark with a friend. We were speaking of children, and she confessed to me that she worried about her kids were killed by serial killers. She knew it wasn’t likely, but still. Ah, middle-class humanity. We may be fortunate that we longer worry about sickness or famine, (because they don’t seem as real), but human beings themselves are always unpredictable.
Even if for scientists, where certain fears are not always statistically probable, it doesn’t necessarily mean we fear it less. So I asked, “And if that happened, what then? You believe in souls, right? Even a serial killer couldn’t touch the soul of an innocent and baptized child. He could maybe make your son suffer and die, but he cannot touch what is within.”
I was thinking of Hindu mythology and Alan Watts. The age-old question of if you were a god, what would you do with your immortality and powers? It is conceivable, is it not, that you would get bored of getting everything you wanted? You could revisit the same story of luxury, money, sex and hedonistic pleasures all you wanted, any way you wanted–but eventually, isn’t it possible that you would get bored? Bored with having everything?
And if you knew it wasn’t real, then you could play around with the darkness. Just like me in my 20’s, playing Resident Evil and Eternal Darkness and Silent Hill–because it was fun, and it wasn’t real. And what if life is just that? A story you decided to play, and you can play good or evil or in-between, because at the end, it doesn’t really matter? White robes or black or red? Choose the story you want to experience. Die and come back, like a ride at Disneyland. If there’s a favorite movie or life arc, you can revisit it. And if you want to try something different, that’s okay too–because in the end, it doesn’t matter which story you choose.
And if we are shards of a common experience, if all we are are individual stories of humanity, it makes sense that there would be spectrum of tales. I’m not sure what my tale will be at this point. I feel grateful that it probably won’t be ordinary, but then again, that’s just my rebel yell talking. I hate to be predictable.