Sunday, October 7, 2012

milk, for strong bones

She brings along two books for the car ride (always an extra because you just never know). They're both books she's already read once, twice, three times. I ask her but what about the book she was reading last night -- the new one from the library. I don't feel like reading that one. I ask her why not. Something really sad happens. What? So sad that I don't want to tell you about it. Oh, I reply. I see. I start explaining rising action and climax and resolution -- wah wah wah, I even hear it that way myself. Here she goes again. But I want her to understand that even if something sad happens, the story will end in some kind of resolution. Not always happy, but some way to see the world. It keeps right on turning. When we get there I see she's been reading the library book anyway. I ask her if she got any farther. If she found out how Lucy deals with her brother's death. No she says. I ask her why not. She holds up her book, marked very near the beginning. She started over. I wonder aloud if she'll keep going this time when she gets to the sad part or just put it away. She doesn't answer. I wah wah wah again, do you think Lucy just hid under her bed for the rest of her life, do you think Lucy finds a way to feel happy even though this sad thing happened to her? She doesn't know. Think about Lucy, the girl. Did she seem brave? Or like a bowl full of mush?

At home, much later, she approaches me on silent bare feet. She stands next to my chair. She hands me the book. You should read it, she says. You finished it? Yes. Are you glad? Yes.