Sunday, October 03, 2004


Paige’s mom sometimes shared stories about her eldest daughter’s toddler days, about how Paige would line up all of her toys in a row—a long, orderly line with each wooden block and Weeble Wobble and black plastic baby doll shoe in its own particular and proper place. About how, when one would end up slightly askew (as it inevitably would), Paige would wail with frustration and horror and pain. The disruption of order, of control, of her carefully constructed world was inadmissible, disastrous.

Later, when Paige was trapped in that shifting, scary maze that twists and turns between ages five and twelve, she slept on her bedroom floor. The carpet was so welcoming, the floor so grounded, so solid. She would place a large, loud fan—one of the old metal ones with a square, dust-covered grate—inches from her pillow, allowing it to blow full force against her face. Bound tightly in her blankets, she immersed herself in fantastic adventures—all the while struggling to hold in warmth, to create a safe, protected space, a refuge from whatever cold and evil forces happened to be prowling, pursuing on the outside. But this blustery cold, these pursuers, they were her conscious creations, held captive in a realm she controlled. In this imaginary world, good and evil were of her making. They were easily named and understood and put in their places. It wasn’t like the world outside—out there. In that world, nightfall meant angry voices, uncertainty, battle.


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