I was re-reading this awesome post the other day and started thinking about the stories I used to tell my little sister.
I knew from the day she was born that I was being given a big responsibility. I had to be able to answer any question she asked me for the rest of time. That was my duty as the older sister. And I would not shirk it.
In the beginning it was easy. “What’s that?” “The cat.” “What’s that?” “A swing.” “What’s that?” “The cat.”
But as she got older, they got more challenging. One day, while we were sitting in the back of the car on the way home from grandma’s she turned to me and said, “Sometimes when I lay down, I hear this beating. Bum bum bum. Like that. What is it?”
A question I had been dreading. I couldn’t tell her the truth. What I knew, deep in my gut, that sound was. I heard the sound so many times before and each time it struck fear into my very heart.
It was the marching of the evil green guards of the Wicked Witch of the West coming to grab us and lock us in her tower. Under the constant supervision of her evil flying minions we would never see our home or family again.
That’s what that sound was.
But looking down into her trusting, big blue eyes, I knew I couldn’t tell her the truth. Not this time. Being a fast thinker, I began to spin a tail of wonder. I spoke with such confidence that she never dared question the truth of my words.
“We have little people living inside our bodies and they like to throw parties. That sound you’re hearing? That’s the drummer in their band.”
Once I got started, it was hard to stop.
“And when you have something to drink, they slide down your throat like a water slide! And when your stomach makes noise, it’s cause they’re riding the roller coaster that’s down there. Yeah! You have a whole amusement park inside and they’re having so much fun! Here put your ear next to mine so that our people can talk to each other for a little while. You won’t hear them because they’re so small and their voices are tiny.”
We sat there for the ride with our little ears pressed up against each other.
She never asked me the question again. And I felt good about myself. Proud that I managed to shield my baby sister from the horrible truth. Instead I gave her a world of joy and magic and parties.
Satisfied that her innocent mind was saved, I continued to plot strategies to thwart the Witch’s vile plans – sticking my figurine of the Witch in a drawer at night, making sure that when we slept both my sister and I were fully covered in the magically protecting blankets I enchanted myself, etc.
Years later I found out that the reason that she never asked about it again was because my answer had scared the flibbertyjibbets out of her. Apparently, the thought that she was filled with carnival machinery and maniacal party animals did not provide the comfort I hoped for.