As a girl, my bedroom floor was always covered with far-flung bubblegum plastic pink Barbie shoes. They littered my floor and I loved them for it. There was something about the specific shade they came in that made me imagine them to be the same flavor and texture of Starbust and, for reasons I still don’t know, I always kept that observation secret and was somehow proud of each tiny, delicious-looking stiletto.
I can’t remember any of my dolls ever actually wearing a pair. I got no joy out of matching one shoe to the other and style or fashion never had anything to do with it. My dolls were bedraggled unwashed punks; I tried to take them into our above-ground pool once but my mother quickly vetoed the decision while trying to explain to me the intricacies of filtration. As the playroom was in the basement, I was never sure exactly what would happen when I pulled a doll, grabbing ankles first, off the floor. Once, I found a tiny baby mouse snarled in synthetic hair. It was dead, but I hesitated before telling my mother because I liked the look of its tiny paws and closed eyelashes in its snuggly little nest. Maybe I thought that, like the cat, it was both dead and not dead. I could hold its life, suspended maybe, until reality had to be informed.
Secrets are always full of magic. I was scared to tell you that, and that’s a secret too.
I have thousands and thousands of secrets. I keep them, huddled close to me. I tuck into them sometimes, these little grains of sand, and quietly watch the world with wide eyes and caution.