Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, How I Wonder...
A young girl with eyes as green as spring grass sat by her father on the sandy edge of the pond, as she did so often. Her father talked to her of the future. "Someday you will be free to go wherever you choose."
"See those stars, my love."
"Someday, if you wish real hard, you will be able to jump high enough to touch those stars."
"I will Daddy. And I'll pick one and bring it home for you."
The father warned, "No, my love. You can't bring them back. They belong to the sky, and are not yours to take. If you do, they'll die."
* * *
Her father was a smart man. Not book smart, the way a bird watcher reads his bird book and memorizes the pictures for later identification. Her father was full of common sense. He didn't have a head for business. Instead, his wide shoulders and strong arms were built for the farming chores he did. He farmed, as well as took care of his daughter, Margorie.
And little Margorie was an inquisitive child. She asked her father many detailed questions. She also worried a lot. "But Daddy," she would ask, "where do all the fishies sleep?"
Margories father never failed her, he was always ready with an answer. "Fishies sleep on the bottom of the pond in fishie hotels."
"What do they cover up with?"
"They cover up with the leaves that cover the pond in the autumn when they fall off the trees."
"But Daddy, what do the fishies eat? Do they eat fried chicken and mashed batatoes like we do?"
"They don't eat chicken, they eat tiny hamburgers, but they only eat once a day."
"But Daddy, don't they get hungry?"
Margorie's nother died soon after her birth, so she was dependent on her father as she grew. Margorie had very honest eyes and a face no one could lie to, so when she asked her father why she didn't have a mommy like the other girls, her father could not explain. He told her simply, "one day, my love, when you are old enough to jump and touch the stars, you will meet your mother. And Margorie, someday I will be there too. Someday when you're strong, and I'm gone, you will jump so high that you will meet me as well.
Margorie never believed that her father would be gone. The two continued their days by the pond, discussing all the little fishies until Margorie would fall sleepy and her father would carry her to bed.
When Margorie was twelve, her father told her about the boys. He had explained the "birds and bees" to her before, but now that she was asking tougher questions, he had to go into the ways of the world. "Margorie," he said one day when she came home from school, "you've asked some hard ones. But I'm gonna try and help. Boys will be around all your life, so you might as well get used to them. Just don't let yourself get too attached."
"Because you need to make your own decisions. You can't let no man decide sone things for you. Or anyone, for that matter. Margorie, you gotta be yourself."
"That's okay Daddy. I probably won't ever even like boys."
"Oh yes you will Margorie. Yes you will."
When Margorie grew old enough to leave the farm, she was afraid to leave her father. His deep eyes seemed a bit weary on the day they packed her things into her girlfriends pickup. Margorie knew about school. She had learned a lot already. What do the fishies eat? They eat fish food. And they swim even at night, while Margorie was asleep. Yet she also understood why her father had told her those make-believe tales. He wanted her to have an open mind, and to learn to accept even the most imaginary things. Because sometimes the most imaginary things turned out to be the most beautiful.
"Margorie, you remember what your daddy taught you. And I'll always be here for you my love. Even though I know you won't want to come back much, you will always be wanted here."
"Daddy, I'll want to come home tommorrow."
"You didn't believe me when I said you'd like boys either, but look at you now." It was true, Margorie had grown to be a charming young woman, and she had no lack of dates. After he said this, Margorie realized this was her father's way towards a compliment.
She blushed, "Thank you Daddy. I will miss you. I love you. Goodbye." She moved to her father and kissed him on the cheek. He took her hand in his and held it for a long time. He did not hug her; Margorie knew her father didn't want her to see him cry. So she let him simply hold her hand until it was time to go. Then she loaded herself into the truck and her friend drove away. As she was leaving, however, Margorie looked back at her father and saw his tears through the dust.
* * *
Margorie was living in the city when her father passed away. She hadn't seen him for several months; she had a home and children of her own to take care of. Margorie told them stories about the farm and the pond she used to sit by, and of how her father gave her the practical advice she needed as she matured. When Margorie told her daughter, Kara, about the fishies, she just laughed.
"Mom, there's no such word as fishie."
"Oh yeah, well did you know that someday you will be able to jump high enough to touch the stars?"
"Mom, no one can jump that high. They use space shuttles and sattelites."
"Kara, I used to have to do chores every morning before school. Then I had to wait at the end of the lane for the bus, and the lane was two miles long. I had to walk that every day. I watched all the bugs and birds and I picked flowers for nmy teachers."
"Wow mom, I didn't kmow they had buses back then. What about the dinosaurs? Did you watch them too?"
So when Margorie was notified of her father's death, she did not invite her family back with her to the farm. She knew her family would not appreciate the country.
Margorie stood on the sandy edge of the pond. She closed her eyes and remembered all the stories her father usedd to tell. She thought about the day she left, it wasn't the last time she had seen her father, but it was the only time she had seen him cry. For the first time, Margorie regretted growing up and leaving her father.
"Daddy I miss you. I want to hold you, I want you to tell me stories. I want you to tuck me in. I love you Daddy." She closed her eyes again, feeling very cold and alone. Something was changing around her, and for a strong moment she did not notice.
The birds were silent. All the usual night sounds became hushed. The muscels in Margorie's legs tensed, and her nerves awoke and became alive. There was a weird cloud in her brain.
She wished hard. Margorie let go of every inhibition she held and suddenly the night was gone. The pond was gone. She felt the ground, soft beneath her feet, suddenly give way. Margorie jumped as high as she could into the sky.
The clouds fell past her in surreal whisps of moisture. She felt them on her face and arms as she rose. She did not look down at the ground below; she was not afraid, but she thought in the back of her mind that she should be. Margorie was breathless. The farther she flew, the more blue the night sky became. The stars were getting closer, and she wanted to grab one and hold it just in case she started to fall.
Margorie rose, filled with wonder, and an unexplainable calm. She forced herself to be frightened. "How high Daddy? When will I be with you?" She closed her eyes tight and waited.
When she saw again, her father was holding her, and he was looking into her eyes. Margorie thought to herself how strong this man must be, she could not see his broad shoulders exactly, but she could feel them. "Daddy, you are alright?"
"Yes my love. I have the stars around me. And your mother is here. We can reach out and touch the sun, and we live on the moon. And we can watch you every day and protect you from harm."
"Thank you Daddy." She reached out to touch her mother as well. She held her hand, and Margorie felt a strong surge of warm flow through her arm. "Thank you too, Mother. Daddy took good care of me, Mother. He was a good father. I'm glad to know that now you're taking care of him. I love you both." Margorie was awestruck by the feelings of wonder which overcame her.
"Now you must go home. Go back to your family and teach them the imagination and respect for life which I taught you. And Margorie, don't worry about them. They need time to understand and accept what cannot be seen with the eye. In time, they will come around. Goodbye, my love."
Margorie's decent was as breathless as her escalation. She fell back towards the earth, back towards the pond. She waved to her mother and father as she fell. "Goodbye Daddy, Goodbye Mother. Sleep well."
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