Friday, November 5, 2010

A Conversation Worth Noting



...when searching for inspiration, look no further than through the eyes of our youth. You'd be amazed at what lies inside...

She's been staying with us since last winter's thaw. Not a permanent placement, and not "The Girl" I've spoken of previously. Just a troubled nine year old yearning for stability while her mother "rights the ship."

Earlier in the week I found myself driving her into town for a state mandated psychology appointment. Professional probing...sometimes necessary, other times, well...

This young lady is not known for speaking of the events which led to her displacement, therefore, we don't ask. If she feels like talking however, we listen.

As we made the twenty minute trek into town that day, she felt like sharing. And I listened...

"Is this a new doctor?" she asked from the backseat, her monotone barely registering more than a whisper.

I turned down the volume on the radio. "Yes, Honey. You haven't met this lady yet. But she's nice."

"What should I tell her?"

"Well, if I were you, I'd answer all of her questions honestly. She's just trying to help."

She was quiet for a bit, then, "Should I tell her about my imaginary friend?"

I considered our destination, then answered, "That would be fine."

Her reflection through the rear-view mirror was that of a downcast soul. Ebony tangles forming a curtain of hair over her eyes. She was faced forward, her gaze angled toward the floor. Thin fingers clasped together and resting upon her lap as if in prayer.

"Are you okay?" I asked.

She offered me a quick glance. Up, then back down, like the blink of an eyelid. "Did you have an imaginary friend when you were little?"

"I sure did."

"What was his name?"

"His name was Sam."

Her hands relaxed. "Did he ever talk to you?"

"Hmm...I guess so. That was a long time ago, Honey."

"But, what I mean is...could you hear him when he talked?"

I felt myself backpedaling into dark ground. "Can you hear your friend when she talks to you?"

"All the time. She came with me when I moved in with you guys."

"Oh. Well okay." I briefed her gaze in the mirror. There and gone. "You know, you should probably tell the doctor about this...I mean, if you feel like it."

I was reaching for the volume on the radio when her next comment froze my arm in mid-stretch. "I think that dog in your basement needs fed. He looks hungry."

"Uh...what dog?"

"The black one. The one with the red eyes."

"There's a black dog in the basement?"

"He followed me from home too. He sits next to the fireplace when I'm watching T.V."

"We're almost there, Honey. Just a few more minutes."

"The white dog was already here when I came though."

My grip tightened on the steering wheel. "White dog?"

"The one from the woods." From the backseat, the girl looked out the window, studied the passing scenery in the distance, a grove of maples, their branches skeletal from the late season. "He follows us all the time."

I didn't want to ask, but couldn't help it. "This white dog...what's he look like?

Through a veil of dark curls I watched her eyes squint, collecting her thoughts. Then, "He looks more like a wolf than a dog. White and fluffy. But kinda dirty, like he might need a bath. And his eyes are cool. Kind of brownish-goldish. I bet they can glow in the dark."

I swerved into the parking lot, was rescued by the first open space I spied, and jammed the car into park, my chest heaving, moist hands sliding off the steering wheel.

"Are you okay?"

"I'm fine. Let's head inside."

...before my wife and I were blessed with our first child, we owned two dogs. One was a female Shepherd mix, beige and white, a rowdy shrew that fought off father time for sixteen years before finally passing away this past Spring.

The other one was a male. Dingy white, and shaped like a polar bear. He was a hybrid-wolf, his father a pure Timber. We called him Dutch. During the winter months his coat would thicken and fluff outward for the coldest of days. At the age of eight, he broke lose from his outdoor pen one bitter January night, and ran off. At some point during his journey, he was tempted by the sweet lure of anti-freeze from an open garage. We recovered him several days into our search, but the poison had spread. Dutch was put to sleep roughly a week later. To this day my wife struggles with our loss.

I stayed in the waiting room during the appointment, allowing the child some privacy with her doctor. The ride home was spent in silence, the youngster no longer willing to share.

Imaginary friends and their dogs...some black, others a bit more familiar. What I'd give for a moment of vision through this girl's eyes. Just a moment...

19 comments:

Jemi Fraser said...

Wow. My breath stopped for a moment there. Wow.

I hope she's doing well. I'm so glad she has you and your family. You're good people, Elliot.

Colene Murphy said...

WOW! That is crazy! I agree with Jemi. You're good people.

Jodi Henry said...

Oh, goodness.

You know I forgot this was you telling us about a real life conversation until the last two paragraphs.

Wow. Her silence after the appointment makes me wonder what the dr. said to her or if she told the dr. the same thing she told you.

Thanks for sharing.


J

The Words Crafter said...

wow. I don't think I breathed the whole way through....my heart is still pounding. you are truly skilled with words and what a conversation! I would loved to have been in that room with the girl and the doctor....I really hope she's okay. you all must be some awesome people...


and how in the world did I miss this post? sorry I'm late!

Donna Hole said...

Yeah, I know what you mean. Kids see things differently than adults. Sometimes they see more.

Maybe Dutch considers you doggy heaven. Makes ya wonder about the black dog, huh? What in her past attracts it to her.

......dhole

Christine Danek said...

I'm still holding my breath and I have goosebumps. You and your family are amazing. You have big hearts and I am in awe of you.
Wonderful post as always.
Kids see things so differently. I had an experience with my daughter when she was about 2 or 3. She claims my grandmother (her great grandmother), who passed when she was just over one, talks to her when she would visit my mom's house. She also would see her in our own home in the Dining Room (the furniture was my grandmothers).
Crazy stuff.
Wonderful post and you are awesome.
THanks

Wendy Tyler Ryan said...

Very amazing. You have to wonder about young children with no preconceived notions about what is possible or not.

Judy Croome said...

Incredible. I got goosebumps all the way. I hope this child comes to realise what a gift she has, and I hope the heavy weight such a gift carries with it doesn't overburden her young soul. Luckily she has you & your family to help her reach her potential.

Judy(South Africa)

The Golden Eagle said...

That is amazing.

Anne Gallagher said...

Elliot, I don't have to remind you that dog spelled backwards is God. Children in those circumstances have to develop "safe" places, as well you know, and most have imaginary friends. Dogs are the lovingest of animals. And if it is your Dutch, then she is well-protected indeed.

I'm so glad she and the other children you care for have you and your family. You are one in a million.

B.E.T. said...

Wow, now that's amazing. I've gotta say, these kids seem like you're doing a good thing for them. I hope those dogs are good omens, not bad. It would be fascinating to be able to see things like that, I've gotta agree definitely.

Terry Stonecrop said...

Sent me some shivers up the spine with this one. I'm wondering how it went with her doc.

The dogs sounded so much like your dogs, it's amazing.

It's good she has nice people with kind hearts to take care of her in her troubled times.

Elliot Grace said...

...it's amazing the amount of inspiration which can be sparked from a few short lines spoken from the lips of our troubled youth. Haunting, yet captivating as well. Left my fingers itching to punch some keys.
Thanks for reading,
EL

Jodi MacArthur said...

Strong authoritve writing voice you have, yet very tender with your words. Intense and gripping. Loved this.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today. Wonderful to meet imagination masterminds!

Crimey said...

Elliot, wow is right. I think I would have pulled to the side of the road. The way you narrate this event to us makes me feel like I was apart of it.

My best wishes to all of you.

Dayana Stockdale said...

What a beautiful post. Wow. Yes completely, absolutely wow. May we never completely loose what we as children could see and hear. The way I try to open myself to experiences like this is to play. Let a trip to the grocery store be an adventure. Let a bus ride be a magical experience!

Olivia J. Herrell said...

Oh, Elliot, my heart cries. I hope the therapist didn't make her feel like something is wrong with her. Some don't see 'imaginary' friends as a good thing and would try to medicate it out of her. Sounds like she needs understanding and acceptance, not judgement. I'm so glad she has you guys.

Thanks for sharing this fabulous event, Olivia

Adeeva Afsheen said...


Banned complain !! Complaining only causes life and mind become more severe. Enjoy the rhythm of the problems faced. No matter ga life, not a problem not learn, so enjoy it :)

Resiko Bayi Kembar Terkena Kanker
Cara Membedakan Kanker Kolorektal Atau Wasir
Jacky Bocah Penderita Tumor Mulut Yang Berusia 4 Tahun
Merokok Dekat Anak Sebabkan Anak Menderita Bronkitis
Informasi Seputar Kehamilan Dan Kesuburan Seks
Mengungkap Masalah Kesehatan Dengan Kondisi Kaki
Teknik Relaksasi Ibu Hamil Agar Otot Tidak Tegang
Manfaat Memiliki Kulit Sawo Matang
Resep Memutihkan Selangkangan Secara Alami
Obat Untuk Kaki Mati Rasa

Adeeva Afsheen said...


Banned complain !! Complaining only causes life and mind become more severe. Enjoy the rhythm of the problems faced. No matter ga life, not a problem not learn, so enjoy it :)

Resiko Bayi Kembar Terkena Kanker
Cara Membedakan Kanker Kolorektal Atau Wasir
Jacky Bocah Penderita Tumor Mulut Yang Berusia 4 Tahun
Merokok Dekat Anak Sebabkan Anak Menderita Bronkitis
Informasi Seputar Kehamilan Dan Kesuburan Seks
Mengungkap Masalah Kesehatan Dengan Kondisi Kaki
Teknik Relaksasi Ibu Hamil Agar Otot Tidak Tegang
Manfaat Memiliki Kulit Sawo Matang
Resep Memutihkan Selangkangan Secara Alami
Obat Untuk Kaki Mati Rasa