I brought Lydia with me to my office after work hours the other day. I was quickly taking care of a few things on my computer and not really paying attention to her as she poked around the cluttered piles on and around my desk.
When I finally turned around she was leaning towards a picture I have hanging under my calendar on the opposite wall. The picture is a roughly cut out blue piece of construction paper covered in various stickers: a turkey, a pile of apples, two giant red felt birds, a snowman. All of this is just randomly placed around the paper. At the bottom, in bold crayon, someone has written the name “LYDIA”. This picture has been on my wall for a very long time. I don’t even remember putting it there anymore.
I waited for Lydia to turn around, and when she did I realized she seemed to be very sad.
“Oh!” I said, surprised. “Hey. Why are you sad?”
She shrugged, and her frown and distressed eyebrows disappeared for a half of a second, but then quickly melted back, “I don’t know…” she said, as if she were just as surprised and confused. “I was just looking at that picture I made when I was little, and, it reminded me of how much fun it used to be to be such a little girl and I remembered how I would just play with stickers. I used to love to just pick stickers and put them onto paper like that. And, well, I guess I just realized I am not going to be little like that ever again.”
I pulled her to my shoulder and held her there, a six-year-old longing for the past. As I held her she transformed, shrinking against my chest. Her bony arms and legs turning back into pudgy dimpled limbs. Her long wispy light colored hair disappearing into a tiny scattering of straw on her sweet little round head. I pulled her away, wrapped tightly in a light green baby blanket, her soft head in my hands and her feet kicking happily against my elbows. Her sparkling eyes scanned the room, reflecting light from every direction, every magical and new thing in the world filling up her mind with amazing thoughts and amazing ideas about life and God and eternity. Finally, the eyes turned towards me, and when she saw me she smiled and blew bubbles, working her tongue along a toothless mouth.
“Lydia…” I touched my nose to hers, “You will always be a little girl.”
OK. I’m, like, dying here. You cruel writer, you.