“Shhh … the Grass Monster is hiding in the dark place.”
The Grass Monster? Where am I? Just a minute ago I was contemplating the fate of the free world, the economy, and a tough decision between whole wheat and the good stuff.
“What’s a grass monster?” I mumble. My mind divided between the world I know and the world to which I have been transported.
“Shhhh … Pinky Poo and Brownie went in there to get a drink of water and they’re scared.”
Pinky Poo backs out of the dark place and trembles. She looks first at me and then back in the dark place.
“We’ve got to get Brownie out of there. She’s really really scared.”
Finally, my umbilical chord to that other world is broken and I realize I alone hold the fate of Brownie in my hands.
“Sorry, Pink Poo,” I speak in reassuring tones. “I’ll get Brownie out.”
With Brownie finally rescued from the clutches of the Grass Monster I try to remember what had been so important to me in that other world. As hard as I try I cannot. There was something about war somewhere and the value of the dollar. What had held me in that world when something as important as the safety of Pinky Poo and Brownie was at stake?
Farther and farther into the dim shadows that other world fades and I find myself enjoying this new world. A place inhabited by Grass Monsters, flying fairy princesses, talking horses, and snowmen with bottle-cap eyes. As my companion grows quiet I take a moment to consider this place to which I have been taken. I am much too old to come to such a place. No, that was Never Land from which the Lost Boys can never leave and Pan can never grow up. This place to which I have been drawn welcomes those who have begun to consider themselves too mature for such foolishness. Here we are allowed silly names and being carefree is expected.
I suddenly realize how little I know of this wondrous world to which I have come. “And where does Sponge Bob live?” I ask.
“In Bikini Bottom.” My companion’s reply carries a faint hint of condescension. How could I not know the answer to such a simple question? Her eyes dance as I imagine her next response, “And I suppose you don’t know the names of all the Backyardigans either.”
Thankfully, she spares me the embarrassment of having to display my ignorance for all the inhabitants of her realm.
That other world is calling. Faint echoes from another place. And, I know I must go back there soon. But not now. Not while the Grass Monster still lurks in the dark place and Pink Poo and Brownie need me.
There will be time for that other world with all of its so important things. In that world it would have taken me twice as many words to tell this story. In that world I would have fretted over what others thought of my story … its grammar, its syntax, its flow and style, and yes, even word count. I would have anxiously checked for the comments of others, hoped for their approval, and been disappointed at their rejection.
But not in this world! In this world the only approval I need or care about is bound up in the body and soul of a four year old princess and her newborn baby brother. She is content that I helped save Brownie from the Grass Monster and her brother is content to rest in my arms for a moment. But none, not Pinky Poo, Brownie, Faith or Ethan are nearly as content as I am.
Tonight, back in my world, I wonder what it will be I think of as my eyes close in sleep. Will it be the Middle East or what furniture we need in our new home? More likely, I imagine, I will say a prayer for Faith and her little brother Ethan. And … I will say a prayer of thanks that Pinky Poo and Brownie are safe from the Grass Monster.
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