Noticed one of these this week and found myself grinning back.
SEEMING IS BELIEVING
The child sat on the curb at the corner of two flower-named streets, waiting for her bus. As the snow came down, coating everything in white to contrast the last vestiges of the black night, she fumed. Even at the young age of nine and three-quarters, she had no patience for snow unless it meant a school cancellation. She’d been awfully tired this morning and would have been quite content to remain in bed, dreaming of things that made no sense, rather than dealing with a waking world that, to her, seemed no better.
She looked up into the sky, glaring at the falling snow, when through the flakes, she spotted the February crescent moon, barely out of its new phase. She stuck out her tongue at it and crossed her arms in a huff.
“Well, that doesn’t seem very polite,” a voice said, though it didn’t seem angry so much as amused.
The girl looked around for the source of the voice, but found nothing.
“Then again, things are rarely what they seem,” the voice mused.
The girl looked around again. “Who’s there?” she asked.
“Yes, I know.”
“Then what a silly question! Or so it seems anyway, and we’ve already noted that things are rarely what they seem, or so it seems to me.”
The girl stood up in a huff. “Where are you?” she shouted.
“Where am I?”
“Yes, where are you?” the girl asked, twirling around, peering through the snow.
“Why, I’m in the same place you are. Where are you?”
“Well, so am I then.”
The girl let out a grunt of frustration.
“You seem mad,” said the voice.
“Things aren’t always what they seem,” she retorted.
“Ah, now you’re learning,” said the voice.
Suddenly, she looked back up to the crescent moon, but that was no longer what she saw. Instead, she saw something grinning at her. No, that wasn’t quite right. What she spotted, or so it seemed, wasn’t quite Something grinning at her so much as, well, Nothing grinning at her. And then, nearly against her will, it seemed that might have been smiling back.
The grunt of the approaching school bus caught her attention, and she bent down to grab her snow-dusted backpack. As she trudged up the grimy steps, she spared a glance back. The grin faded, or disappeared, or otherwise left, leaving only the clouded sky behind. The girl’s heart sank just a little, but she had an inkling she’d be seeing nothing again soon enough.
© 2010 Elizabeth Ditty