Saturday, April 25, 2015


If she had to sum up her childhood in two words it would be easy. Sit still. There were more words, of course, but those two were the theme of childhood for her.

The constant drumbeat. Sit still. Stop fidgeting. Wash your face. Brush your hair. Straighten your dress. Tie your shoe. Sit still. Act like a lady.

School was miserable. "Cathy is a bright girl but tends to fidget." She could still feel the rap of the ruler on the back of her hands for tapping her fingers on her desk.

Church was even worse. "Stop tapping your foot. Stop wiggling in your seat. Sit still." How was anyone expected to sit still on a wooden pew for hours? Or it at least it seemed like hours. She had wished they were Catholic so at least she could stand and kneel to break the boredom of sitting.

And the worst part for her, the biggest injustice was that the boys were never expected to sit still, to stop wiggling, to behave. It was written off, "Boys will be boys." How could you think they would be able to sit still and have clean faces and tied shoes and brushed hair? That was crazy.

But for her? Sit still. Be a lady.

She tried knitting, crocheting, needlepoint, anything to give her hands something to do while she sat still. She ran when she had free time. Tucked her skirts between her legs and in to her sash and ran. Not to anywhere but just away. Away from the over stuffed chairs in over hot rooms. Away from people who thought that you could only listen if you were still. She learned that she could listen to the woods while running. And sometimes she could hear her own thoughts best when they were accompanied by the stead drum beat of her heart pounding in her ears.

Sit still.

Eventually she learned how to turn that energy inward. To create worlds in her mind. While people would tell the same stories over and over again she made her own. Her face pleasant and blank, worlds of action going on behind her eyes. But she was still so they were fine.

Until they weren't. "Cathy, you aren't paying attention! Did you hear a word I just said?"

And no she hadn't. Sit still. Pay attention. Focus on me.

She would smile and apologize and try. She really did want to try.

Well, no, she didn't really want to try. But she knew she should want to want to try. Everyone else seemed to be able to do it.

Sit still.

She couldn't. Eventually she would be running again. Creating her worlds again. Moving again.

"Cathy's daydreaming again. What are you thinking about? The day your prince will come?"

She smiled.

If he was coming he'd better be able to keep up.

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