Little black cowboy boots, scuffed, the pink and blue embroidered flowers natty and dirty. Good. I didn't want flowers. Jesse James didn't wear bouquets on his toes and neither did this 4 year old. I wanted 'em dirty, and a little too big, so my toes could scrunch when I had to stop in a hurry. I wanted 'em pointy, like the school pencils the big kids carried to school on the first day. I need them that way so I could Kick harder, write my name in the sand in Giant Letters, and squash things on the ground, round and round, until they went splat.
Giant blue blow up pool, tilting just a little bit to the left, so there's a deep, deep end where the water is cooler and my imagination can dive, where I can fall off an innertube backwards and suddenly be scuba diving in a bottomless sea.... three feet and 6 inches under the surface of reality. I know how to pretend. To float. To dream. To make make~believe the best true story that ever happened.
We pile up on the couch and plug in a gazillion cords, punch all the buttons, bop the broken TV on the head a few times and laugh. Grrrrzzzzghaplumph! Dusty ole video rattles in the box below the set and a giant Warning flashes across the screen.....It's starting. The B rated movie at the dirty old, last one standing, Drive in. We scooch the coffee table really close to the couch, because there's really not a lot of floorboard in this old mustang. He lights the mosquito coil and tosses it in the ashtray. I balance the bucket of buttered pop corn on the make believe console and we laugh. Climb into the backseat and pop open the cooler. At intermission we throw popcorn out the window so everyone will look and see the Peace Signs I scribbled with my toes on the fogged up windshield. We laugh and hide under the blankets, 16 again.
"We're broke, but we've never been poor" she whispered, Kissing me on the forehead and handing me the whacked off above the knees vintage prom dress...and the blue suede heels two sizes too big. "Stuff kleenex in the toes, and have a good time tonight, you're Cinderella".
On our way out the door, she made us pose for pictures. She held the little Brownie camera up high, eye level to our smiles and clicked. Over and over again. It never flashed. The make-believe film didn't budge,
but our memories did.