A View from Tara’s World, 12 Going on 16

Photo by Debka of mural by Maritza (Cuba)

“Mom, when was the first time you were kissed?”

I told her about the crush I had on David Schaffer when I was in kindergarten.  He lived just two houses down the street from mine and was the first one to tell me about Hanukkah.  I remember going home to complain to my mother.  David had a much better deal.  Hanukkah lasted for eight whole days and Christmas was all over in one!  I don’t remember how it all came about, but one day David and I decided to get married.

“And then you kissed?” Tara asked.  “After that part when someone says, ‘You may now kiss the bride’?”

“Something like that,” I said.  Though I admitted I had been confused by all the rituals David had asked me to go through, including stepping on a paper cup after I drank up all my Kool-Aid.

We talked about weddings and rituals.  Tara said she thinks most weddings are boring but then got pretty animated when I told her she could make up her own rituals if she decided to get married.

“First, I’d eat a lot of cookies,” she said.

“Would that symbolize starting a sweet life together?” I asked.

“Well maybe…  But mostly it’s because I would want to eat cookies.  And then he’d give me a necklace ’cause, you know, rings are just… rings.”

“For some, the circle of a ring symbolizes a love that has no beginning and no end.”

“A necklace can mean that too!” Tara declared.  “And besides, if I did decide to get a divorce one day, I could just undo the clasp.  So they’re more practical than a ring.  But maybe I would have a ring too…  And then, I’d also like a dress for each of the seven days.”

“Seven days?” (How much would that cost?)

“Sure, each day symbolizing things that make us happy.  The first day would be for children.  Maybe the little boys and girls would kiss each other.”

And I thought: like me and David Schaffer.  But then she said, if the little boys are anything like her brother when he was little, after one kiss they’d declare, “That’s enough!” 

I could see that Tara was off and running on the wild horse that is her creative mind, ready to plan every detail of her seven-day wedding.  Meanwhile, I’m thinking it’s a good thing she still has four years left to plan the Sweet Sixteen party she’s also requested.  I’m putting it in writing right now: that party is only going to last one day!

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About HomenDunRoamin

Teaching Artist & Writer: fiction, poetry & nonfiction. Recently completed work: a hybrid memoir. In progress: a novel set in an unnamed Latin American country on the brink of war. The book examines violent and nonviolent resistance and the choices women are forced to make to survive.
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