Tigers, ghosts and other fantastical happenings

27 Nov

Do you remember when you were a kid and the floor was just as good a piece of a furniture as the bed, couch or chair?

If you were like me, you sprawled all over it. You sometimes fell asleep on it. It was never hard, only incredibly freeing like seeing a meadow sprinkled with flowers and being told to run through it. Floors are the lands inhabited by children. As they grow older and taller they play less on them and take up more decent, appropriate poses on ottomans and whatnot. But you crawled underneath the dining room table because it was as nice and sturdy a cave as any before you thought to use it for eating. You certainly sat on the floor, perhaps eating your snack, and mom said you looked like an animal, but you couldn’t understand how she thought that was a disgrace when you considered it infinitely cool. The more tigress I was, the better. Mom used to threaten my brother and I when we were unmannerly at the dinner table that if we wished, we could instead eat on the floor, like an animal. My brother and I looked at each other, confused. I often wished I were an animal. How glorious it would be to have four legs to run on instead of two and big ears that twitched and heard things miles away and claws that were perfect for climbing. If only I had been blessed by being born into the animal kingdom instead of onto a leafy green street with houses that had front porches and neat drive-ways.

One of my favorite past times was prowling around on my knees, slinking and pouncing like a good tiger might in the jungle. One time I went so far as to scrounge up a black marker and an orange marker. I used them to transform my white skin into exotic black and orange stripes, fancying myself stupendously tiger-like. Mom caught me in the bathroom and insisted I wash off the stripes, which were not permanent, only Crayola, much to my disappointment. I played only with stuffed animals, never dolls. My bed was covered with them. Dolls were so stoic and animals full with forests and oceans and whatever it is that makes something run as fast as they can possibly run.

Another time, after my tiger faze, I became fascinated with ghosts. Perhaps this had something to do with being raised in the church and much talk being made about the Holy Ghost. So again I slipped into the bathroom with another stolen item: flour. I scooped little handfuls of it and patted it all over my skin until I was so completely doused in white that every time I took a step, a poof of flour would puff up around my body. I proudly went to show my mom, who was working in the garden, and didn’t notice the white trail I left from the upstairs bathroom, down the stairs, through the hallways, into the kitchen and out onto the porch, where I tried to spook her in a very ghost-like manner, and I think I succeeded because she dropped her spade into the dirt, stood up and assessed the damaged for a few seconds before breaking into laughter. I was extremely proud. To think, I had completed the transformation, all myself! She took a wet washcloth from the kitchen cabinet and softly wiped all the flour away until I lost the ghostly pallor and returned once again to the six-year-old full of make-believe that I was, busy with testing my own imagination and always getting snatched back into reality.

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2 Responses to “Tigers, ghosts and other fantastical happenings”

  1. Grayquill November 28, 2010 at 7:10 pm #

    All my childhood memories have to do with the outdoors. The smell of tree bark on my jeans. Getting in trouble for those nasty grass stains again. but flour all over me? That never happened. One time my father had to dig me out of a hole becuase my neighbor and I dug a hole straight down deep enough for me to stand up in, with only my head sticking out. Then he buried me – it was my job to try and get out, I couldn’t.

  2. slippedink November 28, 2010 at 8:29 pm #

    I spent time outdoors as a kid but not the majority of it. That must have been nice. That sounds like a pretty scary predicament to find yourself in. Good thing your dad was there to dig you out. Dads are good like that. 🙂

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