Other-Girl

“I am wearing a dress made of rainbow,
dipping myself into the
blue brook of time.”
~Inscription on the instruction booklet for the DIY Mini House kit manufactured in China (lines penned by anonymous author)

Summerly has entered a phase in which she initiates really interesting conversations. Recently she began interviewing each of her family members about what pet they would most like to have within certain categories (sea animal, forest animal, bird, reptile, etc.), and the other day she said to me over dinner, “Name ten salty foods you know I like.” Frequently she makes inquiries that appear solely intended to get to know me better as a person, too, which I think is pretty remarkable. After school a few weeks ago, she asked me what I’d done that day, so I ran her through all of the commonplace doldrums of housework and family executive business and rabbit-wrangling that permeate my days at home waiting for school to call and tell me that they’re closing down because all of my kids are sick and have also infected everyone else in their grades including their teachers, or that a meteor is due to hit just outside of city limits in a few hours, or that it’s all a dream that Biden won the election, or any other imminent catastrophe that is all too easy to imagine. Well, I didn’t tell her about the anxiety bit (not because I wanted to shield her, exactly; it just didn’t feel explicitly relevant), but I mentioned that I’d experienced writer’s block that morning so had busied my hands with a new creative project for an hour to try to stimulate other creative neurological energy. She asked what project I’d begun, and I showed her the front of the instruction booklet for building this miniature efficiency apartment (a kit my mom gave me years ago that is just the kind of incredibly intricate, frustratingly complicated, seemingly endless endeavor that she knows I love, one which also necessitates the use of six different kinds of glue and the purchase of tools like a set of microscopic needle-nosed pliers).

Summerly fell in love with it, much like my mother and I had, and inspected every detail. She said it was missing books, artwork, and “lovies”, but on closer inspection she found both books and artwork, declaring that it would be complete once we’d added some minute stuffed animals to the setup. She said, “Then I would be able to live there. But not after I have kids, if I have them. It would be perfect for just me and my husband or Other-Girl.”

Of course I didn’t bat an eye, but just to make sure I was understanding her correctly, I asked, “You mean it would be perfect for two people, like you and your husband, or you and your Other-Girl?” “Yeah,” she said. “It would be great for a couple, but not once there are kids.” Dear universe, if you are listening, thank you. I am so happy that children talk like this today in our world that is so fractured and polarized and corrupt and upside-down and backwards. If my daughter chooses a woman as a partner someday, I already know what nickname I’ll give her after I tell her this story. I think she’ll love it.

Once again:

“I am wearing a dress made of rainbow,
dipping myself into the
blue brook of time.”

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