The storm continued to rage outside, sending periodic flashes of white light through the window and throwing a steady pitter-patter of rain against the walls. I sat with my back against the white-washed walls watching my daughter, Adalia, play alone although she often invited me to join her. I’d often decline not because I didn’t love her, but rather because I couldn’t muster enough energy to do so.
And so I watched her with a certain sort of detachment. Enough concentration focused so she would stay safe, but yet enough to keep a steady stream of my own thoughts running through the back of my head. But somewhere along this stream of consciousness, the two merged and I was just intently watching Adalia play and think about why she did what she did and my past when I was her age.
She got up to walk steadily and held out a hand for support against the wall. A toy was in her other hand as she made her way around the room – that is until she found a mirror. She gazed into it carefully, analyzing the person staring back at her. Finding her balance and letting go of the wall, she stood fully in front of the mirror. She extended her left hand slowly and in a soft, near-angelic voice, asked:
“Would you like to play?” A slightly perplexed look crossed her face as the figure mimicked her exact movements and managed also to speak whenever she did as well. She looked down and shyly peered through the tops of her eyes. Seeing the other was just as shy as her made it a little easier to communicate. She lifted her face and stared at her new friend.
“I would like to play,” and she outstretched her toy towards the mirror until her hand nearly touched it. Happiness crossed her face, knowing she had just made a friend. She pointed off to the center of the room and turned her back so she could get the rest of her toys. Looking behind her, and fining no one, her expression was once again confused. Then it morphed yet again into sadness. Looking at the floor, crystal tears dripped from her eyes and disappeared into the carpet.
Seeing her in pain, I crawled sillilyly to where she was standing, trying to get her attention and make her laugh. She understood and looked at me with tears still streaming from her eyes in small rivulets.
“What’s wrong, Adalia?” I asked, softly, almost tentatively.
“Papa…” her voice trembled as she spoke. It hurt to hear her angelic voice break between sobs, “she… no one wants to play with me”. For awhile, I watched as she continued to hang her head down and cry, absorbing what had just happened. What innocence did I find in my own little girl? This coupled with an overwhelming feeling of nostalgia about when my own innocence was lost. My eyes began to sting and the room became blurry as the tears streamed down my face.