62: Shadow Dancing


Their names are Crimson and Clover and they won’t stop staring at me.

Even after Mom turns off the light, when the room goes dark, as dark as the underbelly of the bed, I lay here. Seeing their beady eyes seeing me.

Here’s a list of things under it. The bed, I mean:

  • Dust bunnies! I like calling them that.
  • Some of Dad’s socks he only wears brown socks
  • A locked box but I’m not sure what’s in there maybe a treasure map?
  • Crimson
  • Clover

There’s probably more stuff. That’s just all I can see from my spot on the scratchy carpet floor. It’s brown. Like Frosted Flakes but when they aren’t covered in sugar. The cereal with the raisins that look like beetles. Gross.

I am five years old. Old enough to be a big girl. I am a big girl. So you should know I am only sleeping in my parents’ room tonight because I feel like changing things up. A big girl just gets tired of sleeping in the same bed sometimes, that’s all.

I like Crimson the best because she is white with reddish spots, like how my mommy has reddish hair, and how I have red hair too. Clover is white but has black spots, just like the ones at the farm where Grandma and Grandpa live. They are named after a song my parents like. It’s their wedding song. I like that my parents have a wedding song. I like that weddings have songs.

Whenever I spend the night in my parents’ room, my little brothers do too. Sometimes my big sister. Three of us fight over which side of the floor we will take—mom’s side, dad’s side, or the end of the bed. No one likes the end of the bed. It’s like the heel loaf of bread and everyone just ignores or forgets about whoever is sleeping there. The baby always gets to sleep on the bed between our parents. He is king of the castle, safe from the sharks wrestling blankets/ pillows/ each other in the moat below.

But not now. Now we are all being very still because we were NOT still five minutes ago and let’s just say Mom was NOT a happy camper. She was… like… a camper who just got her whole dinner stolen by a bear! LET’S WRESTLE LIKE BEARS. RAAAAaarrrr… Wait! No we can’t! Shhh! We will have to go back to our boring old bedrooms!

I feel excited but have to stay still. That’s not easy for anyone—even a Big Girl, age five. Instead I just lay here. And stare at Crimson and Clover. They are soft to the touch, forever standing. Two stuffed cows standing together no matter what. Cows are always standing. Crimson and Clover are smiling and they are never apart. The cows at the farm never smile. They never do anything. They just stare at me and chew their cud like bubblegum. But none of them ever blow any bubbles. It’s so boring.

I turn Crimson and Clover so they are facing one another, and I mash their wet cow snouts together to pretend they are kissing each other. Swapping bubblegum cud. This is quickly boring too. And I’m getting sleepy.

I close my eyes and inhale.

This is the moment I forgot I’ve been waiting for.

Whenever I slumber party in Mom and Dad’s room, this stage of things is inevitable. It is now, only now in this tiny corner of nights like this, that I am present for the moment when my racing mind catches up to my tired body. And they meet in the middle of me and stand together, always standing, never apart.

It must happen every night. It has to. But I’m usually too lost in my head (there are plans to be made and pirates to be named and Santas to be called upon!) to feel it.

Decades from now, when Crimson and Clover are long lost and drowned at sea, I’ll read somewhere that the brief moment between an in-breath and an out-breath is where God exists.

Inhale – God – Exhale – God. Always standing, never apart.

That’s how I would describe this moment too. When I can feel all my parts lining up and falling together like a group of siblings holding hands and jumping off the deep end of the public pool with the scary slide.

In this moment I can feel the whole of everything. I can feel it because I am paused. I can feel it because I am part of it. Part of it in a million ways. I know this and can recognize it because I am a Big Girl.

I am me.

I am a human.

I am a giraffe.

I am gum dancing in circles with the teeth of your tires.

I am a crimson beetle jungle-jammin’ half a world away.

I am eyes closed smiling beneath your feet. A four leaf clover.


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