He counts in his head now, rather than on his fingers, but he’s mouthing the figures in an odd little litany.
“…like ninety cards. That’s like what we get at the tournament on Sunday. Imagine, Dad.”
It’s the ‘Imagine Dad’ that sticks in my mind.
If I were to Imagine a Dad, how would he be?
Would he be me? But with money?
“Dad, can we turn the light on, I’m freaking myself out.”
We’re lying in my bed. It’s 5:45 a.m. and he’s rolled into my sheets, complaining of a stomach ache. Now’s he’s fine and even a little annoying.
“Yeah, because you know, it’s like this. You know how everybody always says ‘Great, what an imagination he has’ ? Yeah, and I reeeaaaallyyy imagine a lot, all the time. So, it’s great, right dad? Yeah, but sometimes I imagine freaky things that scare me. Like right now I see a zombie. You see dad? Right there on the wall. Ahhhhhh! Freak out!”
The same faculty that imagines the wonderful also invents the horrible.
I used to spend whole nights in the hallway outside my parents’ room, watching them sleep because I was afraid of the witches that would infiltrate my room when I closed my eyes.
Now, imagination is my livelihood and the prime mover of all my pleasures.
“They are all stories, Noah. Freaky or beautiful, they’re invented. Therefore not real.”
“But they feel really real, dad. I’m really scared for real.”
“That’s because you’re a good storyteller. The emotions you feel are real. But even if you’re reeeeaaaaaallllyyyyy afraid, there are no zombies in my room or your room or anywhere.”
No sense telling him that the stories are so real, in some countries, that pseudo-zombies do exist.That people actually do die of fright. That’s really real.
“When you, like, write one of your movies does it like, huh….”
Searching for a word. A wonderful moment.
“Does it affect me emotionally?”
“…yeah exactly, does it….affect you, like there, you know…”
He pats heart and belly. This from a kid who has heartburn and belly aches.
How elegant life is if you can just see the patterns.
“Yeah, when I’m writing, I make myself laugh, sometimes I make myself cry.”
“Really. I live real emotions but I’m not living the story. I’m inventing. Like traveling without going anywhere.”
Sweet. A wonderful word.
Imagining is sweet.
Once upon a time there was a boy who was so afraid of witches that when he grew up he made love to them, so that they wouldn’t destroy him. And then this grown up boy had a son who was afraid of nothing. Except his own imagination.
If only I could figure out the moral…
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