April 12th, 2011 · 4 comments

standing in the back hallway in full on belly dance attire, talking to a friendly restaurant acquaintance in a whispery post·performance voice. at some point i notice a little girl peeking around the corner at us, and i love this, i love when little girls do this, so i offer her a mischievous little smile & this finds some brave space in her to come forward fully into the hallway, to stand there against the wall, watching us.
she is tiny and beautiful, all long striking red hair & a serious face, her eyes locked to me as i tell my friend goodbye some moments later & begin walking towards her. i am almost to the spot where she stands when a woman rounds the corner, touches her arm, half-leaning down and speaking softly. the girl lifts her head up & back to her, back to me.
“she thinks you’re a princess.” the woman smiles, tilts her face in a way that says aren’t children adorable, aren’t they so naive and sweet? the girl’s head whips back up to her mother (&i’ve no doubt that this is her mother), quietly, fervently correcting her. “a genie princess.” without missing a beat, i kneel down until we are eye-level.
“what’s your name?” softly.
“minaaa, that’s a pretty name. do you have a wish for me?”
she wants her older brother to stop pulling her hair. she wants her mom to let her stay up to play with their new bird. (“his name is shy, because he hides his face in his wings.”) she wants to go to playland with her friends, and she wants to be a princess too.
on impulse i reach up & unclip one of the flowers from my hair, leaning forward to tuck it into the space behind her ear. this elicits the first smile i’ve seen from her, brilliant and blinding and sweet. “i’ll see what i can do, okay?” i say this conspiratorially, whispery, smiling. she nods, still shining, and as i am leaving for home later that night my heart is still beating its slow tidal beat, a reverent rhythm heavy with grace.
these moments sacred & unexpected.
and how, everything feels like weeping.

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