On the occasion of Claire's 20th Birthday 🍂
Bear wears four dresses, layering one over the other, her fine silks and tulle. The purple one, her favorite, a faded cotton, is frayed at the hem. She will not let me mend it. The nightgown, a fairy blue, is flouncy and full. See how it spins, she says.
She throws her arms out, turning in the patch of morning light catching glimpses of herself in the teapot cabinet and the glass of the fireplace doors. At three, she is small enough to make these her mirrors, no need to bend down.
The third dress is deep blue, with straps wrapped over her shoulders. She wears it like a cape, streaming behind while she races through the kitchen. The long pink one gets tied around her waist. It has to be tight, she says, cinching it with little hands. She watches over her shoulder, as the long train of pink sweeps across the cherry floors.
Bear wears no panties, no socks. Her pink satin slippers, trimmed in gold, scuffed and dirty around the edges slip easily onto her feet. The plastic crown rests on her round head. Quietly, she gathers up all her dresses in one hand, and dips herself into a curtsy.
Bear and I get married, most days. She wears the dresses, pink shoes with gold trim, the crown. She is always the bride. We stand before the fireplace while I hum the wedding march. Bear watches herself in the glass, tilting her head to one side.
We hold hands and say our vows. They are simple and easy to remember. I promise to be kind and good. We kiss, on the hand and cheek, on the lips. We hook arms and the wedding dance begins, a kind of square dance with leaps and skips. Bear likes it best when I spin her around. All her dresses float up around her legs.
- from my memoir, Please No Life Stories
Such lucky ducks. We've kept our vows.