Once upon a time, there was a little girl who liked playing alone. She had friends, and a loving family. She didn’t need to play alone, she just preferred it. She would wake up each morning before anyone else in her house. She’d learned to be a morning person because it was the easiest time to play alone. She would wake up and very quietly climb out of bed and tip toe out of her room and down the stairs. Her favorite spot to play was in the corner of the living room. The room was warm and welcoming, with a big & blue cushy couch, two padded rockers, and a plaid loveseat. Even with all the soft places to sit she preferred the floor, behind the couch, and just under the windows. She would crawl into position and slowly ease her precious dolls out from underneath the couch, working hard to keep from making a sound. Her dolls were her favorite things to play with. They were old, and fragile, and sort of ugly. She loved them for all their imperfections. Each doll had a name and a character and a back story. Molly, with her long brown hair that might have been beautiful when she was new, liked books and had since she was a baby. Kiesha got her makeshift outfit of handmade shorts and a flowing top for her 6th birthday. Evan, the only boy doll, was afraid of spiders. Leslie had short, spiky hair thanks to having had a run-in with chewing gum that she decided to fix herself instead of asking for help because she was stubborn like that.
For her, playing with the dolls was like watching a movie that her own imagination created in real-time. She never knew where the story would end, and that was part of the fun. The four dolls participate in each play session to different degrees. There wasn’t a favorite among the four of them – she loved them all equally. It was as if the four were an extension of herself. She knew they weren’t real, and she had other playthings she enjoyed, too. They were her favorite, and playing with them in the morning, before the rest of the house woke up, was the best.
On the day of our story, the little girl had already gotten up, made her way downstairs, and had the dolls out to see where their story would take her today. She had just discovered that Evan had a toothache when there was a big knock at the door. The sound shook the entire house it was so loud! She was too little to even consider opening the door, and she didn’t have to – the noise of the knock had woken her father. She stayed behind the couch while he approached the door.
“What or who is knocking on my door so early and so loudly?” her father said as he opened it.
She had stood up and still couldn’t see who or what her father saw on the other side of the door, even when she went up on her tip toes. Her father wasn’t a very tall man and he didn’t fill the doorway. His average height and narrow build made him look not-so-strong. She knew he was the strongest man alive, though, and full of magic. Her strong and magical father looked down at the floor before crouching down into a big squat in order to talk to who or what had knocked on the door.
She didn’t understand how something or someone so small could have made such a loud noise. Her curiosity pulled her out from behind the couch, and Evan came with her.
Her father put his hand out across the threshold, paused, and then stood up with his hand outstretched. She could see now who or what he had been talking to, though she didn’t know any better if it was a what or a who. As her father turned to come into the room, the little being in her father’s hand started jumping up an own, clearly very excited. Her father tilted his head and furrowed his brow as he looked from his daughter to the little being and back again.
She climbed into one of the rocking chairs as her father sat down on the couch. He tipped the being onto the table. The little one kept jumping up and down and may well not even have realized he’d changed locations – he was so excited!
“You found one! You know one! Oh, my!” he said, punctuating each sentence with another jump.
She looked at her father, trying to figure out if he knew what the little being meant. Before she could react, the being ran forward and jumped from the table onto her lap, and then ran up her arm to stand on her shoulder. Her father stood up, ready to intervene if necessary. The little being stretched up to reach her ear and said, “We need Evan’s help!”
**All 30-minute musing posts are fiction**