Blissful ignorance vs the cesspool of truth. Contest entry Any memory Dec 19. 774 words
|Late one night, back when I was about six years old; I was woken by the sound of approaching footsteps. They stopped beside my bed and I felt the presence of someone looking down on me. I kept my eyes closed and pretended to be fast asleep, hoping this would somehow dissuade its intentions.
One of the corners of my pillow slowly and a hand reached underneath. It placed and took something, then retracted. The presence continued watching me for a short time then I heard footsteps receding. Curiosity got the better of me; I opened my eyes, just in time to see my mother walking out the door. I waited until she had disappeared down the hall before grabbing the torch from the top of the bookcase that sat adjacent my bed. I checked under the pillow and found a ten cent piece where my recent lost-tooth had lain.
Putting one and one together, I concluded that I had been lied to about the existence of The Tooth-fairy. It seemed grossly that my parents thought that lying to them was very naughty but deceiving me was okay. The more I thought about the more bitter I became, until I finally tossed back the covers, discarded the torch and hastened out into the hallway to confront them.
My parents’ door was shut when I reached their bedroom and hushed voices sounded within. I drew closer and placed my ear against the door. They were talking about me and I heard my mother express how much she was looking forward to witnessing my excitement the next morning, when I discovered the tooth-fairy’s visitation.
Tears welled as shame overwhelmed me. I knew my conscience would never abide with me disheartening her enthusiasm, or being responsible for usurping an obviously valued family tradition. The insistence of truth often begets the denial of fantasy, and I did not feel comfortable living in a world without imagination.
I distanced myself form the door and reflected on all the fairies, elves and goblins that occasioned my existence with varying degrees of whimsy. If there was no tooth-fairy, did that mean there was no Easter Bunny, Santa Claus or even a Sandman? Were there no trolls under the bridges in our local park, or was the Giant's house in the local Botanical Gardens, nothing more than a greenhouse full of large exotic plants?
Reality was rules, expectations and loathsome chores. It was struggling in school, enduring the teasing and bulling antics of bigger kids, the discipline of impatient teachers, having to entertain horrid neighbours, visiting boring relations and…well the list went on.
It also occurred to me if that I had been told was erroneous, then there was also no bogeyman, ghosts, werewolves or vampires my room and most of the house. Maybe that unsettling presence in the hallway was imaginary, like my parents asserted, and the interior of our stove was not haunted by the ghost of Hansel and Gretel’s Wicked Witch that they burned.
After much deliberation I ambled back to my room, turned on the light and picked up my teddy bear from the bed. I stared into his kind smiling face and tried to disassociate illusion from imitation fur, kaput and buttons. It did not work and I ended up tearfully embracing the bear tightly before placing him back down beside my pillow.
A familiar voice sounded from behind, startling me. I quickly wiped my eyes, turned round and saw my mother standing in the threshold of my bedroom. I had no idea how long she had been watching me but I gathered from her expression she had at least seen me embracing the bear and knew I was very upset about something.
I made up a story about having a scary nightmare, and accounted my intention of seeking her comfort, but did not want to bother her, so opted to seek solace from my teddy bear instead. Her response was emphatic but I thought I sensed a slight incredulity about her tone. She gave me a comforting hug and kissed my cheek, before ushering me back into bed and tucking me snugly under the covers.
Weary from my deliberations, I wrapped my arm around the bear and listened as she told me a story about a fairy that got trapped in a bubble and was blown to a far-off magical kingdom by the wind. I’m not sure how it ended because I feel asleep.
The next morning, to the noticeable delight of my parents, I rushed into the dining room and told them how the tooth fairy had exchanged my tooth for a ten cent piece.