Thursday, December 29, 2005

The Death of Innocence

She’d crafted the mask out of an Almond Joy candy box, the kind of over sized candy box you get at the movies and she’d been to the movies that day, earlier, with her friend Jane, but now she’d been called home to sit in the garden with her mother and her father’s lover, the ballerina.

She’d crafted the mask out of the candy box, had cut two holes out from the center for her eyes and left the rest uncut so that her mouth, the full expression of her face wouldn’t be seen.

She’d planned it with her mother, knew the ballerina was coming and still, she didn’t know what to say. “You don’t have to say anything,” her mother offered, “we just want to get together.”

She’d crafted the mask out of an oversize Almond Joy candy box after she’s picked up her father’s journal a week earlier and after she’d read what he wrote, that the ballerina, her parent’s friend, wife of John, and mother to Jessie, Joseph and Gale, was the best lover that her father had ever had.

“You don’t offend me,” were the first words that came out of her 10-year-old mouth when the dancer walked up the front steps. And when she casually offered up the zucchini muffins that she had brought with her, the girl raised her eyebrows, “muffins?” she said, “no thanks.”

She crafted the mask because she didn’t know what to say now that she knew everything but understood nothing. And did this have anything to do with why her mother had seemed so sad all summer? And how she, the girl had tried to be better, wrote her mother notes like “mom, we love you, who wouldn’t?” How she hoped that if she just loved her mother harder and stronger her mother would be happy again. The girl's love could save her.

Now the ballerina was talking about love, how it was all about love. How she loved her husband, and how she loved the girl’s mommy as well as the girl’s daddy. The woman told the girl that she too, all of the children, were very loved, that there was enough love for everyone.

The girl wears a candy box mask with the words joy printed on the cardboard between the eyes, There is joy between the eyes but not within them.

A ten-year old girl sits in a garden with her mother and her father’s lover wearing an Almond Joy candy box mask.