Our girls share a very active fantasy life. There are dragons and faeries, princesses and princes, mermaids and mystics, and magic in the ether around them, folding into their daily lives and influencing them as they move from one “ordinary, mundane” activity to another. Sometimes the ethereal becomes so palpable that the whole family is swept into an “imaginary” world, playing parts doled out by mini directors, and disappearing from “real life” entirely.
This past Saturday was a perfect storm of pretending. Bella and Xi woke up earrrrrly, and set to work immediately, inventing the day’s world, and creating the parts and props for their internal performance. They began by resurrecting two of their favorite characters: Fern and Rose. Fern and Rose were married a few years ago, and are revived or revisited every now and then to carry on their existences through Bella and Xi, respectively.
This time, however, there was a turn of events that none of us could have predicted. Fern and Rose broke up. In fact, they broke up so much that Rose disappeared completely (she was apparently “too bossy”), and Fern met someone new. And though it was never before discussed, I am guessing that Fern and Rose were quite young when I married them originally, because even after their divorce, Fern was only “college-age”.
What unfolded from this beginning was an entire day (with literally, only a couple of very short breaks) of Fern and his new partner, Juliette, meeting and falling completely in love with one another. But let me tell you how it all happened…
One day, Juliette was on her way, with arms loaded with books and papers, to English class to give a report. Fern was leaving Chemistry and beelining across campus to Math. And as if guided by fate, the two dedicated students crashed right into each other, sending books and papers sprawling onto the sidewalk and lawn. Fern was quick to help Juliette begin picking everything up, when the two of them reached for the same paper and looked up giggling at each other. And for the first time, their eyes met, and the world softened out of focus, and they fell instantly in love. And at that moment, both of them had on magic necklaces which began to glow brightly, signifying their awakening connection.
As luck would have it for the two new lovebirds, the university was undergoing “budget cuts” and opened the coed dorms to coed roommates. It was university policy that each student have his/her own bed, but otherwise Fern and Juliette were cohabitating much as if they were life partners. They went to prom together that spring.
The lovers dated for a year before Fern proposed. It was on an idyllic day, and the two of them went for a walk by a swan lake. Eventually, they reached a gazebo at the far end of the lake, where they stood, and watched the swans swimming and tending to their cygnets. Then, when he felt brave enough, Fern got down on one knee and asked for Juliette’s hand. She waited a minute (for either dramatic effect or to be sure of her choice), then said an excited, “Yes!” and knocked Fern down with a powerful kiss. They began planning the wedding the next day.
Flash forward four or five months, through wedding preparations of all sorts,
to the actual day of the wedding. Juliette got her hair done by her maid of honour, the ghost of her long dead friend. (You can see three of the hair design options Juliette chose from here.) They had known each other since the age of 3 and had often talked of helping each other during their respective weddings. But at the tender age of 13, the friend drowned while spring ice skating, and would’ve missed Juliette’s wedding. However, she chose to stay on as a ghost until Juliette did marry — and good thing, too, because she did such a wonderful job on Juliette’s hair, that Juliette herself looked just like an angel.
Immediately following the wedding, the happy couple set off for the Cayman Islands for their honeymoon. And planned to begin immediately making a family.
That was the story, but it only partially creates the image I am trying to convey. What you miss, unfortunately, is watching them go through all of this. They actually “met”. They actually went through the prom, and the proposal, and the hairdo, and the ceremony. They had me officiate the wedding. Echo (Fern’s sister) held onto an actual ring, and handed it over at the precise moment, and Fern placed it gently on Juliette’s finger. I rode the two lovebirds around in the kid trailer during part of the honeymoon. And even that evening, after a full day of steeping in this pretend world, the girls remained in character while we had our usual movie night, holding hands and discussing the movie as Fern and Juliette, all while tending their new baby (another brilliant cameo played by Echo).
The other thing that struck me as I watched them play out their roles through the course of the day was what a great gift they were giving themselves. They got to be in love with one another (or an idealized version of one another) the entire day. They didn’t have a single sisterly spat. They didn’t have any problems working through any “situations”. They got to be focused on one another exclusively, and got to have the kind of connective time together that goes further than just being sisters. It made me want them to pretend to be married everyday!
So fun. And so easy.