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Immolation 05-24-2010 Bambi vs. Momzilla

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by , 05-25-2010 at 12:49 AM (1951 Views)
When I was a little kid, about six or seven, my sister and I were home after school and my mom was at work. It was a different world, so we thought at least, and leaving your kids home alone at base housing didn't seem like child abuse then the way it does now. Of course, neither did drinking or smoking while you were pregnant. Who knew?

So we were home and we decided to do one of those things that kids do that make you question the wisdom of letting them stay home alone at a tender age--we got out the flour and the food coloring, some mixing cups, a piece of cardboard, and a bunch of plastic critters and shrubbery from some play set or the other. We may have been in Alaska at the time. The memory is clear but the setting is vague.

From these base materials we constructed a work of art. It was a diorama--a relief map--call it what you will. It was a little slice of heaven built by a couple of small kids in various hues. It featured three small hills and a shady glen; a lush haven thick with glossy green vegetation and peopled by all of the furry denizens of the forest... all of the cute denizens anyway. Spiders and snakes need not apply.

So we slaved away at this epiphenomenal creation for what seemed like months, but was probably more like a couple of hours, breathing into it all of the hopes and dreams and aspirations of a young child yet to be tainted by the cruel ogres of reality. We imbued it with a Disney-like sense of charm and magic as only someone of true innocence could do.

Impatiently we waited, breathless for my mother to get home and break down in tears from the sheer, magestic poetry of our creation. No breathing soul could possibly witness to product of our genius and not be moved, nay, awed, by its utter perfection.

Finally, the appointed hour came. My mother, exhausted from a hard day at work, put her coat over the chair and her purse on the seat, then stood looking at our masterpiece with her hands on her hips. Silently, expectantly, we gazed up at her, beaming.

She wrinkled her nose. "You two had better throw that out before it starts to stink," she said matter-of-factly, before turning toward the counter to begin preparing dinner. Though the movie wouldn't air for another fifteen years, I felt like Ralphie in "A Christmas Story" right after Santa told him that he'd shoot his eye out. How could she be so insenstitive... so blind. Could she not sense the fey magic oozing from our little fairyland?

Then I knew. Youth is magic, and every sand-speck of reality that they throw in your little red wagon reduces the gloss and the shine just a little. Every school bully, every bad grade, and yes, every tired mom who doesn't have enough energy left to appreciate the miracles her little brats occasionally poof into existence--each of them pulls the veil a tiny bit further from our eyes and exposes us to a mundane, drab place that layers a thick coat of dusty ho-hum onto everything around us.

But I have a secret. Some of us are born with a tiny spark that refuses to die. We have a private chamber; an inner sanctum of delightful things that are as shiny as they are eclectic, as marvelous as they are strange. And there in the back our hidden sanctuary is a portal that leads to worlds untold, stories unborn but bulging, bursting to escape into realization. It is a mixture of Willie Wonka and Hogwarth's, the Shire and Arrakis, the Magic Wardrobe and Sherwood Forest.

It is a secret that will never die in us, because it is us. Even when we share it, it remains our secret, because it appears different to all who see it. We intrepid cartographers... we possess this secret, every one of us. It is not so common that we all should have it, but we do, so perhaps it is no accident. Maybe we didn't bring our secret here. Maybe it brought us.
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