June 18, 2015 by vh1161
She was regal. I looked at her and knew that she loved classic literature and black and white movies. I caught in her reflective gaze the aspiration that many woman share but hesitate to admit: to be iconic. No one ever faults a girl for wearing a sweet floral shirtwaist dress and a pair of t-strap heels, as Mira was. Instead of dubbing her style “old” or “old-fashioned” we call her “timeless.” It’s a hospitable category for people who are not quite at home in their lives; it associates them with cherished things and allows something safe, even laudable, in not being current.
Her bearing is a bit self-conscious; she works hard to remain a comfortable distance from the other rush hour passengers and to maintain a detached gaze that says she’s above all this hustle and bustle. This manner is the reason people often call her aloof or unrelatable. It frustrates her, such a misunderstanding…She has no problem with other people. She just wants things that don’t exist anymore and has never known how to buy into the “normal” of metropolitan adult life.
She grew up in an old house on 1 acre of decommissioned, parceled-out farmland. On her family’s lot were a vegetable garden, a swingset, and a sandbox where Mira and her brothers mapped out and modeled tiny golden domains. Playmobil figures were their pawns, plastic shovels their tools of conquest.
She lost her breath sometimes when she thought about how expansive the world was. She held out her arms and crouched, ready to spring forward and see how quickly her bare feet could carry her to the horizon. Sometimes she thought maybe she could run so fast she’d push the ground away from under her, but that only ever happened in dreams.
They had mighty steeds, known to plebeians as bicycles from WalMart. They went out at least once every day for a majestic cruise around the cul-de-sac. Mira had pastel-colored ribbons spiraling from her handlebars. She was secretly quite proud of her ability to outpace the neighbor kid’s roller blades.
Conflict with neighboring dignitaries was simple in those days. Monday: “That was mean. You’re not my friend anymore.” Tuesday: The harsh reality of loneliness set in. Wednesday: “…Do you want to play? And be best friends?” Summer breezes carried injustices out of memory with the dandelion seeds.
On some nights the view from her bedroom window seemed removed from real life, like a page in a book held before her eyes. The road ran off into the distance past the boundaries of the familiar. There were so few houses built on the surrounding slopes at that point in time that no light interfered with the nightly bejeweling of that sapphire sky. Mira would look up and feel her heart crack from the weight of knowing that she was so small and that desire alone — however strong — could not make her melt into all that perfect, far-off beauty.
How Mira ended up in Washington, DC is another story for another time. But suffice it to say that it will be some time before she can call it home. It’s not a place where people linger long over anything or where dreamers have room to breathe. At least for now, she thinks her only options are to change or to be lonely, and she’d rather not change.