Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Kevin Finds Mousey


In literature for children words have power. If you speak the creature's full name, you will invoke it. It is one of the rules of the imagined universe. A mere utterance can bring untold misfortune, and can have consequences beyond the wildest imagining.

Do you remember when you believed that? If Rumpelstiltskin's name passed your lips, he would appear. If you knew the right spell when attending a school for magic, your enemies would be frozen in place, unable to hurt you, or they in turn could paralyze you.

Some of us lose that sense of wonderment as we grow older, the ability to invest in the fantastical. To extend our belief to that which exists beyond our proven reality. Others of us became science fiction and fantasy fans when we grow up, because sometimes belief in things far beyond our current reality is the very thing that helps us cope.

"Let me tell you about the time we went to Mackinac Island," my husband began, "they had the best fudge in the world there..."

My husband's childhood has always rather fascinated me. A large family is as strange and fantastic a concept to me as being able to wave a wand to conjure wealth, or a rub a bottle to bring forth a Genie. My own family is very small, as both of my parents were only children. This is not a recommended marriage dynamic, by the way. Two people used to being the center of their own world did not a good match make, but that's a tale for another time, or not at all.

We were sitting in a hospital room watching over my son following a bad fall on the ski slopes. In the long run he was fine, and that's all that really matters now. My husband was trying to distract me, and it was working. I listened to the tales of the adventure on Mackinac Island, seven kids on vacation with their parents as told through my husband's memory.

Kevin is now 6'6" inches tall, but to my husband he will always be the little brother. Kevin was four at the time and his most treasured possession was a stuffed animal named Mousey.

It was ten years ago that I first heard the story of carriage rides, and children scrambling all over an island in Michigan, safe and protected.

"Then what happened?" I asked.

"Well, then Kevin lost Mousey," My husband explained who and what Mousey was. "We searched everywhere. We were a task unit. No corner of that island went unsearched."

"And?"

"We never did find him," he finished, but it had worked, I was distracted, my mind taken off the worrying thing at hand.

"You need a better ending to that, you know." But I was laughing.

When my husband hung up the phone the other day he didn't need to say anything. As we get older, we find out the truth: Sometimes you need not speak the creature's name to invoke it. Sometimes the creature is conjured regardless. There is no magic phrase to ward it off, and you can only do what you can do.

Late that night we were both lying awake, staring at the unchanging ceiling above. My husband couldn't sleep, and neither could I. I reached for something that had become a joke between us, when times were tough.

"Did I ever tell you about the time I went to Mackinac Island?" I asked.

"I think I know that one already."

There are stories common to simply being human, to having a life, and to loving people. The end of those stories is sometimes beyond our control, and we do the best we can. We try to be there for each other, in whatever small ways we can.

"No, you don't," I assured him, "in my version of the story, Kevin finds Mousey."

15 comments:

DUTA said...

In this post you're touching some quite meaningful topics: belief in fantasy as children and as grown ups, big family versus small one, being an only child to parents, husband and wife trying to be there for each other in any way possible...
You do this with grace and great writing talent.

Jennifer D said...

Wonderful... as I was reading I was anticipating a recent call to your husband letting him know mousey had just been found all these years later.

The Bug said...

Well, this just made me break down crying - sometimes I hate the phone. Sigh. But I'm glad that in your version of the story Kevin found Mousey!

Land of shimp said...

Thank you, DUTA, sometimes I suppose we get to be the hero in our stories, other times not so much, but we keep on trying!

Jennifer, in my personal universe, Mousey lives on...experiencing many a grand adventure, sending Kevin the tales of his derring do. In this one, I'm afraid he remains lost, but we can dream.

I'm sorry The Bug, I thought of you before I wrote this, by the way. I wasn't quite sure how to tell anyone that the news had not been good, and I'm so sorry. That must have brought up some painful memories for you.

Hilary said...

Yes I like your version better. Happily ever afters are still in big demand.

Kyle said...

Happy endings aren't too common, but happy journeys are. I think our fantasy lives as children help to prepare us for that fact of life.

Nancy said...

You have such a way with words. Mousey may still be out there waiting for the right words...

Congrats on POTW!

Nancy said...

So sorry for the news.

Amy said...

Alane, I read your post yesterday and haven't stopped thinking about it since. Seriously, you have an gift for writing. Please know you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

And yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus! aka "Mousey"

Jo said...

Alane, congratulations on being post of the week. I'm so glad the world is beginning to find you. You are the best writer in the blogosphere.

Don't you just hate those phone calls?

Life with Kaishon said...

What a beautiful post. What a beautiful story. I am so glad that in your version you find Mousey! We went to Mackinac once. It was very pretty. And quaint! : ) I am glad that you have each other to lay beside at night. That is a beautiful thing!

Land of shimp said...

Hello Hilary, and thank you again for your kind mention this week. I love a happy ending, but happy endings come in all forms, don't they? In some ways that was a happy ending to our day, that day. The best we could do, but happy nonetheless.

I agree, Kyle, and happy journeys are incredibly worthwhile things. You know where I got the idea for that, don't you? Scifi fans probably spotted it right away: "Hey, were you thinking about alternate realities??" I was, all the way back on the day Rob first told me that story.

Thank you, Nancy. I've always loved words tremendously. You can make anything out of them :-)

It is sad news, or rather, I wish it was much better, easier news. I wish good people got the best stories in real life. It doesn't always work out that way, and maybe that's why we all love stories throughout our lives.

Amy, thank you so much. Truly, that's the nicest compliment I think anyone can receive about a grouping of words. That you thought of them afterward.

I very much appreciate the good thoughts for Sharon, and for Rob's family. Sometimes we all need a magic wand, don't we?

Jo, thank you, sincerely. It's truly such a lovely thing to read, such a nice compliment to receive, and I truly thank you for it.

I do hate those sort of phone calls, Jo. We've all received them, although our news may have been different, we all know how it feels. I know you've gotten your fair share, too.

That's what I want for Christmas, I want dominion over who gets good stories, and good phone calls. Hehe, don't we all? I'll bet they're fresh out of that at the mall!

Hello, Life with Kaishon! Thank you, I think it's a beautiful thing too. That's how Mackinac sounded to me, idyllic and charming. Maybe Mousey lives there still, concealed by mists :-) I had just been to your blog, by the way!

Anonymous said...

Seeing these kind of posts reminds me of just how technology truly is an integral part of our lives in this day and age, and I am fairly certain that we have passed the point of no return in our relationship with technology.


I don't mean this in a bad way, of course! Ethical concerns aside... I just hope that as memory becomes cheaper, the possibility of uploading our brains onto a digital medium becomes a true reality. It's one of the things I really wish I could encounter in my lifetime.


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