I’m sitting across from Ellie at the table in my bedroom. It’s been raining almost non-stop for the past four days and today we’ve finally had a reprieve from the downpour. Ellie’s face reflects the consternation I feel. Her sweet mouth is stretched to a concentrating frown, her little chin active as she mouths words to herself, glancing periodically out the window in response to a noise or a glimpse of movement outside. There is so much going on behind those wide, blue eyes and that tucked lower lip. She catches my eye and gives me a coy grin. What is she thinking about? Her sweet feet dangle from the chair, almost a foot above the floor, toes flexing and relaxing in response to thoughts I can’t read. She has to reach those soft arms up an inch or two to rest them on the table and scoot the puzzle pieces around. What amazes me most about this fae-child is how long she can sit in companionable silence. And when she does speak, it’s not necessarily to me, though I’m facing her in my own chair.
She catches my eye, then breaks the quiet suspended between us: “I think muggles should be called humans because…” Her vocalized thought becomes inaudible as she climbs down from the chair, picks a wedgie, and wanders out of the room. She thinks before she speaks. Every idea or notion receives due process in that brilliant imagination factory of hers. Her impossible eyelashes cast up to the sky as she peers blurringly into the front yard. I can see so much of me in her, but only insofar as someone gave us each some identical genes and we ran off with them in different directions.
She grabbed a book to read to me. That expressive face is in full bloom now, reacting and concocting a story beyond the page. She never just reads, she illustrates and performs with her tone and her words and her careful formation of those syllables. She’s working it all out as she goes and she never falters from the characters she’s concocted. Every now and then, she feels my eyes so intently observing and glances up with hints of suspicion and satisfaction. Oh, she knows how cute she is, that’s for sure. But it doesn’t make her mean or resentful, it makes her Ellie—sweet, candid, unashamed. It’s beautiful. She is beautiful, my fearless Elliott Jane.