we rounded up the wind and put it in a coral.
we took turns pushing swings toward the sun, then back.
you bruised your face and it looked like a very beautiful sunrise. you decide you like it better that way, but it won't stay.
"That," said Dad, "is life."
we had chores:
-the rotten vegetables go to the compost
-wash and wipe the windows with windex
-write one a story each day
The lizard swam back in forth in the bathtub. "Iguana," he corrected, and she made a mental note. They never had pets like this before. Both of them, Sam and Spike, had strange eyes and moved like little dinosaurs. When they died quick and in sucession, the father buried them in the backyard and said, "They weren't good pets."
we cleaned up after ourselves and never ate breakfast late. we tried our best to be ourselves but it was hard sometimes, to know how to be. "If I am not myself, who am I?" you asked. We played a game called Pretend and Pretended to be: robots; soldiers; people in space; monsters; families; princes and knights. At night we dreamt of looney tunes and for one week I accurately foresaw which episode they would run next, right there in bed. You said, "What if you only get so much psychic power, and you used yours all up?" We laughed and laughed and maybe it was true.
He wished for a toy. He wished for a game to play on his computer. He wished to kiss Kate, Jenny, and Kerrie. He wished to not move away, it was hard enough to find a friend the first time. He was very worried that if he said the wish the wrong way that the universe would interpret his words wrong.
Years later, he saw how the wish, as he worded it, was the problem all along.
If Dad had been a writer, owned a laundromat, worked at a pet store, what might have been? He tried all those things, plus selling disposable dental tools, and digital clocks w/letter opener. What if you only get so much time, and then you use it all up? It was hard to be yourself in our house. When we Pretended Sam and Spike were pets, they died and no wishing brought them back. Sometimes Dad spoke and it was like lightning; sometimes we whispered our secrets and they were like a wind, with nowhere to blow but between the four walls he bought for us -- as he changed time to chores for money so we could be warm, watch TV, and dream of who we might be...