Saturday, June 09, 2007

Restored and somewhat resigned

For beautiful hair, let a child run his or her fingers through it once a day.

That's an Audrey Hepburn beauty tip, and while I find it whimsical, it's definitely not practical. I had lunch with Ruchama and her brood, and Tikva spent most of the time "doing" -- i.e., undoing -- my hair. (Up to that point it had been a pretty good hair day; I found a new mousse and an even better leave-in conditioner.) Tikva was fascinated with my stretchy headband, pulling it on and off my head, but at one point turned her attention to my body.

"Are those your big boobies?" she asked, pointing.

"Uh, yes." I never thought of them as particularly big....

"But people shouldn't touch them," she noted solemnly.

"Yes. People shouldn't touch them."

"Only when you take your shirt off."

"But I only take my shirt off when I'm at home alone," I told her. Close enough to the truth.

"Your mommy and daddy don't live with you?" she asked me.

"No, they live in their own house."

"Did they die?"

"No, of course not! They just live in their house, and I live in mine."

"Why don't you live with them?" she asked.

"Because I'm a grown-up, and grown-ups don't live with their Mommy and Daddy. They live by themselves, or with roommates, or with their husband or wife."

She digested this for a few moments, then changed the subject. "I wanna wear your watch."

As I took it off and clasped it -- very loosely -- around her tiny wrist, I felt totally at peace. Once the watch was secured she leaned into me, snuggling her head on my shoulder and pressing her forehead against my neck. Even now, writing about it, I feel happy.

Tikva is not afraid to show how much she loves me. Whether she's snagging a choice morsel from my plate -- "I want tomato" "More turkey" "Strawberry, strawberry" -- or taking me with her on a bathroom break, even though she no longer needs any help doing her business, I know she loves me and feels close to me.

If I were as incapable of self-reflection and arrogant as my accusers have drawn me, the children in my life wouldn't love me this unreservedly. And my fellow students and professors wouldn't like and respect me as much. I have to hold onto those feelings as I start the rest of my first-year internship, which I am more or less resigned to. Even though, for the money I'm paying, I should have more say in where I'm placed and what will meet my needs.
Copyright (c) 2007 "Ayelet Survivor"

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