Saturday, September 20, 2008

Believe

I believed some weird things when I was little. Like the time I told my sister that I had insomnia. That's a big word for a little kid, but I had heard her use it and told her that's what I had. I had trouble falling asleep at night. Did I really have trouble or was it just that when I wanted to fall asleep I thought about it so much that I wasn't able to do so?

I got excited when she told me matter-of-factly that she had the cure. If I wanted to fall asleep, all I had to do was hold onto her big toe.

"That's all I have to do?" I asked.

"That's it."

It sounded so easy. Why had she never told me this before? I reached out and grasped her big toe, closed my eyes, and expected to be dozing within seconds.

After a minute or two, I felt no different than before. I was told to be patient and give it time. Meanwhile my sister went back to reading her book. After five minutes I still didn't feel sleepy in the least, so I asked her what was taking so long. She couldn't contain her laughter any more and then I knew I'd been rooked. And I'd been holding her dirty old toe all that time! I got up and ran to the bathroom to wash my hands of all her toe cooties, while she continued to sit there and laugh.

Our kitchen wall had two small holes in it. My mom had always told me that God and Santa Claus were watching me to see if I was being a good boy. I was pretty clever because I figured out that they were watching me through those two holes in the wall. I was more clever than they were, because they didn't know that I knew that.

When I walked through the kitchen, past that wall, I was a little angel, one who was very careful not to look directly at those holes while being on his best behavior. Once out of sight range, I relaxed.

On the other side of the kitchen wall was a closet. I figured God sat on one stool and Santa on the other, next to each other, peering through the wall while comparing notes about my behavior. Now, that was my own closet in my own room and I'd certainly been inside of it before; why I never managed to see them was a mystery, but then I never saw the holes that looked out into the kitchen, either. There must have been a hidden room within the closet.

Since our house had no chimney, I asked my mom how Santa was able to get inside of our house to leave presents. Never mind that according to my own deductions, he was already inside of our house looking at me through the kitchen wall; I suppose this must have been another time before or after the period during which I was convinced of my belief.

"I leave the door unlocked so he can get in," she informed me.

"But I thought you said to never, ever leave the door unlocked," I couldn't figure out why she told me to do one thing and did another herself.

"For Santa it's different. That's just the way it is. The rest of the time it's locked," my mom assured me.

The biggest mystery of all was how a tooth was able to transform itself into a coin. And what exactly was the criteria for if a tooth would become a nickel, or a dime, or sometimes a nickel and a dime together? Sometimes bigger teeth resulted in a larger denomination coin and sometimes it didn't. How the Tooth Fairy managed to enter our house was something I never thought about because I was too preoccupied pondering such a miraculous change in molecular structure. I was very disappointed to learn that upon reaching a certain age, the Tooth Fairy crossed me off her list.

Yeah, I know the above is pretty strange and you already think I'm stupid but the most bizarre belief I had was that my own mom was trying to kill me.

I loved avocados and still do. But you know, once in a while you run across a stringy one. Or one that doesn't taste quite right, not buttery and creamy. That's the one I had at dinner one night that triggered my Sherlock mind to deduce that my mom was trying to poison me.

The avocado definitely didn't taste right. I eyed my mom and was impressed, and perhaps a bit unnerved that she appeared cool as a cucumber acting as though she knew nothing of this evil endeavor of hers. She didn't so much as look at me from the corner of her eye as she ate her dinner.

I left the rest of the avocado on my plate.

"What's the matter? I thought you liked avocados?"

"This one tastes funny."

"It does?" My mom examined it and left it on the plate. I wondered if I had ingested enough of the poison. I wondered if I would wake up the next day.

Now let me say that never did my mom ever say or do anything that would make me think she meant me any harm. She was the most important person in the world to me but yet I put the subpar avocado together with the thought in my head that it was poisoned, and was convinced my days were numbered. I figured each day I woke up, there would be more poison in my food that day to get the job done.

And yet I ate. I ate and waited to have x's for eyes - it's true! Why did I continue eating food that would kill me? Because she was my mom and I had to do what she wanted me to do and if she wanted me to eat poisoned food, it was my duty to do so. For however long that lasted, I honestly went to sleep each night fearing that I would never wake up again. I accepted my fate.

Morning after morning I continued to rise, however. One day I finally told my mom something was bothering me, and I confessed my suspicions to her. She stared at me and when my expression told her I was serious, she gave me a big hug and said plainly, "of course I'm not trying to poison you. Where did you ever get an idea like that?"

I told her about the avocado. She kept hugging me and assured me that she would never ever think of such a thing. Now of course, would anyone ever admit it if they were trying to kill someone? But I believed her. I've never been so relieved in my life and immediately all was right in the world.

My mom told me and I believed her.

I laugh about the silly things I believed as a kid, but you know, even when we grow up we still believe silly things. I think we want to believe - we want to be able to open our eyes and find that all is well just because we believed it so.





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