The Magnetism of Memory
I began flying alone at an early age. My parents would walk me to the plane, introduce me to a stewardess who sat me right up front and kept an eye on me. A quick forty-five minutes or so later, she would hand me over to my grandmother who was waiting at the bottom of what seemed then like a very tall metal staircase. I loved the four pointed stars that decorated each step.
Flying at an early age meant going through airports, which meant walking by scores of shop windows filled with all sorts of stuff a little kid just had to have. That’s how I came to covet a little pair of kissing dolls. They were displayed upon a pair of revolving plates. As they neared one another, their magnetic lips locked for a second or two before the plates’ motion parted them. I thought they were utter magic. No matter how many times I asked, the answer was always no. They were silly. There was a plane to catch. There was traffic to get through. I had enough toys. All true, except for the silly part.
For some reason, I mentioned the memory to a friend some months ago. Three weeks later a small package arrived. I whooped with surprise and delight when I opened it. My kissing dolls! I played with them at once, slipping them past one another, testing the tension of the magnets. How close did they have to be to kiss? How far before they were beyond kissing distance? I was so touched that my friend had indulged us both in a moment of kid-joy. Next time she visits I will even let her play with them. Promise.