Dear Shadow by Denise Braun

Little hands nestled over a fuzzy blanket. Pinky, finger, finger, finger…thumb. Every nook and fuzzy groove in that coverlet was security. And in my six-year-old heart, feeling safe was concrete. Night light? Check. Clicker flashlight? Check. Bobo the stuffed elephant? Check.

“Goodnight sweetie. Kisses…”

Mom blew 3 kisses from the bedroom door to the top of my bunk tucked underneath the window.

“Muah.” A kiss back to mom.

Peeking out the blinds of my room window, the stars were sprinkled across the Prussian Blue sky and eased my discomfort. It was always at night I felt the most vulnerable.

Alone. Scared. So the moon, coming out of hiding from behind a gray blob of cloud cover, made me smile.

“Oh Mr. Moon….you are so beautiful.”

I sang a spontaneous song about a little girl who ran across the surface of the happy planet, wearing ballet shoes. Moon beams dashing through her hair. A constellation of stars shining down on top of her head. Releve, grand jete! Smile.

Deep sigh.

A shadow on the wall. Another.

Shadow.

Shadow.

Moon Beam.

My head flopped on the flattened feather pillow.

With my active imagination fully engaged, every shadow on the wall opposite my stuffed unicorn became a story. As a way to avoid fear of the dark, and with focused vision, I would watch the grey spots move and dance. The moon, a lighted back-drop for the show, accompanied the performers.

Expansion. Constriction. Expansion. Constriction. My pupils looked for light.

“I see a doll, a cat, a bat…”

Turning over under the safety blanket.

“And a rhino, a teacup, a spoon.”

Thoughts and images made a soup of wide-awake fascination in my tired mind.

Shhhhhhh. Go to sleep little girl.

Shhhhhhh. Dream.

Shhhhhhh. Imagine sunbeams and water puddles.

Wide yawwwwwn.

Fluttering eyelids.

“Dear shadow….” I said aloud. My legs could feel the little grains of dirt under the sheets at the foot of my bed. Leftover residue from a day of play and spontaneous beach-castle-joy.

“I was wondering…could you show me some magic? My mom read me a story about a little girl who fell down a rabbit hole. And suddenly everything had changed. I think her name was….Uhm….”

Big yawn.

“But it was full of magic. I believe in magic. I just saw some today, shadows. Because I was standing outside under the Mimosa tree. You know which one I mean? With all the red bottle brush blooms? That’s what my sister calls em. And all the red sprigs started falling down on top of my head. They smelled flowery and grassy.” Giggles. Smile.

Eyes fluttering.

“I’m not afraid shadows. I can only see Mr. Moon beams when you’re here.”

Shhhhhhh. So hard to stay awake.

Shhhhhhh. You are divine light and shadows beautiful child.

Shhhhhhh. Quiet watching. Moon beams.

Now my head facing towards the night sky in that window. A star shoots across the framed glass.

“Ohhhhh wowwwwwww. So bright!”

And if by magic, I counted as many twinkles as the brightest star could muster. Before every muscle gave in.
Pinky, finger, finger, finger, thumb. Released. Breath.

Shadow.

Shadow.

Shadow.

Moon Beam.

Sleep.

Love.

About the Author: Denise Braun

Denise lives on the Central Coast of California with her husband, three daughters, 11 chickens, 4 cats and one dog. Her passions include writing, creating artwork, and supporting others in a soulful therapeutic modality she created called Artful Hypnosis.

When Denise isn’t enjoying life in the spaces in between, she organizes retreats for women, teaches paint classes around the U.S., and organizes her ever-growing shoe collection.

Her favorite things include freshly outta-the-oven banana bread, dragonfly-fly by’s in her backyard, and pumpkin-scented sache’s in her sock drawer. True story.

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