Enigma


“Look at that sky, Lilly.”  Ross pointed.  “All those stars…”

“How did they get there, Grandpa?” 

“Well, let’s see.  Maybe there’s this great big blanket covering the sky.  And every time we do something good, God sticks a shiny star on that blanket.”

Lilly smiled.  “Like my spelling tests?”

“Yep.  Or maybe…”  Ross thought a moment.  “Maybe God gathered up a big bunch of diamonds and tossed them in the sky.”  He made a throwing motion.

“But how do they stick there?”

Ross rubbed his chin.  “Well, I dunno’.  What do you think?”

She shrugged.  “Superglue?  Daddy uses that to fix everything.”

Except his marriage, Ross thought.  “Superglue it is.” 

“Dad, stop filling Lilly’s head with nonsense.”  Karen knelt before her daughter.  Began blah-blahing on the laws of the universe.  Ross sighed, patted the child’s head and left the room.

* * *

“Tea, dear?”  Ross turned on the stove beneath the copper kettle as his daughter entered the kitchen, arms crossed.

“Please.” 

“Lilly get off to sleep all right?”

“Well, no.  Not actually.”  Karen yanked open a drawer and pulled out two spoons.  “She’s counting the stars, Dad.  She wants to know how many good things she’s done.”

Ross chuckled.  How wonderful it was to have a little poet in the house again.

“How am I to explain shooting stars to her?” 

“I’m sure you’ll figure it out, Karen.  You always do.”  He handed her a mug.  “How’s school coming?”

She shook her head.  “I never knew it would be this difficult.”  She stared out the window.  “Despite all of our science, the universe largely remains an enigma.”

He nodded.  “Perhaps that’s for the best.  Maybe some things aren’t meant to be teased apart by science.”

“But that’s how we understand the universe.”

“You understand the universe, Karen.  Lilly and I love it.”

She shook her head.  “Loving the universe doesn’t pay the bills.  I have to study.”  She sat at the table and cracked open her book.

Ross went outside to study the stars.

This was written in response to This week's Trifecta Writing Challenge. The word was enigma.   

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Writing in the Margins, Bursting at the Seams: Enigma

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Enigma


“Look at that sky, Lilly.”  Ross pointed.  “All those stars…”

“How did they get there, Grandpa?” 

“Well, let’s see.  Maybe there’s this great big blanket covering the sky.  And every time we do something good, God sticks a shiny star on that blanket.”

Lilly smiled.  “Like my spelling tests?”

“Yep.  Or maybe…”  Ross thought a moment.  “Maybe God gathered up a big bunch of diamonds and tossed them in the sky.”  He made a throwing motion.

“But how do they stick there?”

Ross rubbed his chin.  “Well, I dunno’.  What do you think?”

She shrugged.  “Superglue?  Daddy uses that to fix everything.”

Except his marriage, Ross thought.  “Superglue it is.” 

“Dad, stop filling Lilly’s head with nonsense.”  Karen knelt before her daughter.  Began blah-blahing on the laws of the universe.  Ross sighed, patted the child’s head and left the room.

* * *

“Tea, dear?”  Ross turned on the stove beneath the copper kettle as his daughter entered the kitchen, arms crossed.

“Please.” 

“Lilly get off to sleep all right?”

“Well, no.  Not actually.”  Karen yanked open a drawer and pulled out two spoons.  “She’s counting the stars, Dad.  She wants to know how many good things she’s done.”

Ross chuckled.  How wonderful it was to have a little poet in the house again.

“How am I to explain shooting stars to her?” 

“I’m sure you’ll figure it out, Karen.  You always do.”  He handed her a mug.  “How’s school coming?”

She shook her head.  “I never knew it would be this difficult.”  She stared out the window.  “Despite all of our science, the universe largely remains an enigma.”

He nodded.  “Perhaps that’s for the best.  Maybe some things aren’t meant to be teased apart by science.”

“But that’s how we understand the universe.”

“You understand the universe, Karen.  Lilly and I love it.”

She shook her head.  “Loving the universe doesn’t pay the bills.  I have to study.”  She sat at the table and cracked open her book.

Ross went outside to study the stars.

This was written in response to This week's Trifecta Writing Challenge. The word was enigma.   

Labels:

18 Comments:

At May 8, 2012 at 3:00 PM , Anonymous barbara said...

I'd rather study the stars, too. :) Nice piece.

 
At May 8, 2012 at 5:23 PM , Anonymous Kgwaite said...

Thanks, Barbara - I think I would, too.

 
At May 8, 2012 at 6:28 PM , Anonymous Annabelle said...

That little aside "except his marriage" says so much about what's going on. The lovely innocence of Lilly and Ross's discussion of the stars is that much more poignant because of it.

 
At May 9, 2012 at 4:45 AM , Anonymous Mary said...

I'm with Ross...

 
At May 9, 2012 at 7:37 AM , Anonymous Renada Styles said...

people are too focused on knowing; they forget to dream

 
At May 9, 2012 at 8:12 AM , Anonymous PaulaJ said...

"You understand the universe, Karen. Lilly and I love it." And what good is understanding without love?

 
At May 9, 2012 at 8:35 AM , Anonymous Susan Okaty said...

Love how you weave the meaning into your story without being direct. Draws the reader right in. Good job!

 
At May 9, 2012 at 10:44 AM , Blogger Chris said...

Sometimes the answers we create, although not scientific fact, are a better truth. Knowing is great, but without imagination and a server of wonder all the knowledge in the world is boring. Sometimes that silly answer can spark something in a child that will shape them for the rest of their lives.

 
At May 9, 2012 at 11:03 AM , Blogger Chris said...

Sometimes the answers we create, although not scientific fact, are a better truth. Knowing is great, but without imagination and a sense of wonder all the knowledge in the world is boring. Sometimes that silly answer can spark something in a child that will shape them for the rest of their lives.

 
At May 9, 2012 at 11:18 AM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Chris has left a new comment on your post "Enigma":

Sometimes the answers we create, although not scientific fact, are a better truth. Knowing is great, but without imagination and a sense of wonder all the knowledge in the world is boring. Sometimes that silly answer can spark something in a child that will shape them for the rest of their lives.

 
At May 9, 2012 at 4:45 PM , Anonymous sailwawasee said...

Love the sweet relationship between Lily and her grandfather (my daughter has something very similar with my dad). And the line,“You understand the universe, Karen. Lilly and I love it.”

I could count stars endlessly and look for shooting stars for hours (and often do), so I get this!
Gina

 
At May 9, 2012 at 8:33 PM , Anonymous Jester Queen said...

I love the contrast between the father and daughter. I hope the daughter learns to study and love the universe. The two aren't mutually exclusive.

 
At May 9, 2012 at 9:35 PM , Anonymous JannaTWrites said...

I love Ross' thought about how the dad used superglue for everything but his marriage. That one little sentence says so much about what is going on in that family.

I'd rather study stars than books any day!

 
At May 10, 2012 at 3:33 AM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Jester Queen has left a new comment on your post "Enigma":

I love the contrast between the father and daughter. I hope the daughter learns to study and love the universe. The two aren't mutually exclusive.

 
At May 10, 2012 at 3:34 AM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

JannaTWrites has left a new comment on your post "Enigma":

I love Ross' thought about how the dad used superglue for everything but his marriage. That one little sentence says so much about what is going on in that family.

I'd rather study stars than books any day!

 
At May 10, 2012 at 8:07 AM , Anonymous Annmarie Pipa said...

different strokes for different folks! an interesting scene of family life.
I am your newest follower..pls follow back if you can.

 
At May 11, 2012 at 1:52 AM , Anonymous Trifectawritingchallenge said...

Loving the universe does not, in fact, pay the bills. Ask any English major. :-) I loved this story. I loved the conflicts in the generations, and I really loved the description of a little poet in the house. Unfortunately, I don't think you used the 3rd definition of enigma--which is to describe a person. No matter, great story. Thanks for linking up.

 
At May 12, 2012 at 10:51 AM , Anonymous Leslicollins said...

I disagree. The line "How wonderful it was to have a little poet in the house again" suggests that perhaps Karen was a dreamer like her daughter at one point. She herself is an enigma. Her poetic nature has been replaced with a need to know the "truth" - What has happened to her imagination/hopes/dreams that she won't allow Lily the same delightful fantasies she enjoyed as a child?

 

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