My grandmother on my mother’s side loved daytime drama. “The stories,” she called them, and talked about them as if they were real. Not wink-wink real, but real real. It was a mild form of insanity.
Conversations about what the presidential candidates think or feel or what they might do or not do if elected remind me of her. Suspending disbelief so thoroughly. As if there were something of practical value to be sifted from the proceedings. As if the actors weren’t actors speaking lines assigned to them by directors who answer to producers who answer to investors.
Enough about that.
Acadia and I were nearly out of Lake Conestee Nature Park on Tuesday when we saw them headed our way. Heard them, actually. They weren’t quite as tall as the footbridge handrails that framed our only egress, so all we could see of them at first was the tops of their heads as they ran. Ran and screamed. Screamed and ran.
She’d made it all the way around Learning Loop No. 2 without incident, but screaming children were a deal breaker. “Get-me-the–doublefuck-out-of-here,” she said. (I’m sorry, but that’s what she said.) I scooped her up and kept moving toward the disturbance. You’re familiar, I’m sure, with the expression “grimly determined.”
Maybe it was the sight of a bearded man loping out of the forest primeval, or the sight of a bearded man clutching a patch of fur that seemed to be his heart, but they froze. All two of them. Two little girls, maybe eight and ten years old, eyes wide, arms limp at their sides, staring up at me like I was Santa Claus. Or Sasquatch. Probably Sasquatch. They’re going to scream, I thought, and Acadia will go off like a bottle rocket, but I kept walking. What else could I do? Please, little girls, just let us be on our way …
Then one of them spoke. A single word in passing whispered so sweetly that I almost missed it and then almost laughed.
“Kitty!” she said.
“You’re welcome,” I thought.
And thank you.