Our little neighbor girl - the one who knocks on the door wondering if we can do art - came over to show me a craft she had done at school.
Craig let her in the door to my bedroom. She finds me having a dark day in bed with cramps and a heating pad. She climbs up, starts to get under the covers then wiggles out as she sees the gallon jar of buttons sitting on the nightstand. I tell her some of them were my grandmother's, and when I was little I spent many happy hours sorting and looking at them.
I ask her if she wants to play with them. She says, sure, this jar isn't heavy for a strong girl like me - lugs it over to the bed, unscrews the lid and dumps it upside down.
We spend slow time picking out big brown boulders, greens for leaves and grass, and brightly colored ones for flowers. She makes a button garden path across my white bedspread. We take a chatty stroll.
I tell her it's time to go - we need to clean up - then I'm going to finish my movie.
She asks if she can watch it with me. No, it is in French and you probably wouldn't like it or understand it.
Well, I speak French and my teacher calls me her gold nugget, she says. I burst into a belly laugh that displaces my cramps and makes me hemorrhage. You are my gold nugget too, Paige. I agree completely with your teacher.
Say joi de vivre, Paige. She repeats it - copying my poor accent.
That is French. It means joy of life. You have the joy of life, girl. I'm so glad you come and share it with me.
I know, she says as she climbs down, tosses her curls, gets her boots on, and leaves.
You're the Teacher's gold nugget, too, and he's always glad when you dance into the room. You being there makes his eyes twinkle.