tonight, just before bed

“where will we meet in our dreams tonight, little girl? at the ballet? at a tea party?”
“we'll meet at barbie.com, mama.”
i am trying not to laugh. “okay, honey. what will we wear when we meet?”
“i'll wear the flowered barbie dress. you can wear the wedding dress.”
“sounds lovely. you know, my wedding dress is upstairs in a box.”
“can i see it, mama?”
“well, i can show you a picture of me in it when daddy and i got married.”
“why can't i see it now?”
“because it is in a box in the attic, all sealed up. i didn't know if i would have a little girl when i got married, but i always hoped i would so that i could give her my wedding dress one day if she decided to get married. and you, my girl, can have the dress if you ever want to get married. it's all sealed up and saved.”
“thank you, mama.” BC pauses for a moment, then starts to cry. “mama, what will you have to remember me by? will you remember me when i am not a little girl?”
i am trying not to cry, but i start to cry. “little girl,” i say, “i will always remember you. i am your mama. i will save some things from when you were little so that we will both have them when you grow up.”
“mama, are you crying?”
“yes, honey, i guess i am.” BC sticks her fingers in my eyes, wiping the tears. or at least, trying to. “i will save things for you just like my mommy saved some things for me.”
“you mean, you will save some things like grandma saved for you?”
“yes.”
pause.
“mama, what did grandma look like when she got married? did she have a wedding dress?”
“yes, sweetie. she looked absolutely beautiful.”
“and grandpa? how did he look?”
“very, very handsome.”
“he's a goofy guy.”
“yes, dear, he is.” laughing. my father is a goofy guy. and the best, like my mom.
“was he a goofy guy at the wedding?”
“i don't know, honey. i wasn't born yet. i only know how they looked because i have seen the pictures.”
“can i see the pictures?”
“yes, sweetie, the next time we go up to visit.”
pause.
“mama, did grandma have a big, wiggly belly when she got married?”
“you mean, did grandma have a baby in her belly when she got married? like my belly?”
“yes.”
“no, honey. uncle howie wasn't born until nearly two years after grandma and grandpa got married.”
“that's a long time… how long for you, mama?”
“oh, i was born about 6 or 7 years after grandma and grandpa were married.”
“wow, that's a long time. and uncle larry? he is second.”
“yes, he is. he was born about 4 years after grandma and grandpa were married.”
“well, i want to get married and have a baby.”
“that sounds wonderful, sweetie.”
BC starts to cry.
“mama, will you come to my wedding?”
i am crying again. “honey, i would love to come to your wedding. if you want, i will even help you plan it when the time comes.” BC smiles again.
“mama, can i have purple streamers and balloons at my wedding?”
laughing. “whatever you want, my dear.”
“and cake?”
“absolutely.”
“cos i want cake and purple streamers.”
“you got it, honey.”
BC pauses. then, she cries.
“mama, i want to marry daddy!”
laughing, quietly. to myself. “honey, daddy can only marry one person at a time, and he is already married to me. but i know he will want to be at your wedding, too. and he will want to dance with you.”
pause.
“mama?”
“yes, honey?”
she takes my chin in her tiny hands. “i wish you good luck.”
“thank you, my beautiful girl. i wish it for you, always.”
BC smiles. this is enough for one evening.

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