“Can you count them all?” her father asked as they walked among the shells that were scattered everywhere on the sand, she high atop his shoulders.
At six, she already knew well her father’s proclivity for mischief. It was one that she tried hard to match.
So they started counting off together.
First by the ones and then, after a time, by the tens, the twenties, the hundreds. If you’re going to pretend anyway, he told her, why not be ridiculous?
The stunning practicality of that advice has become clearer over the years.
But today, she carefully counts out the various little pills that she’ll need to make it through another day. Practical, too, in its own way.
And climbing back atop his shoulders, she finally feels safe enough to pretend again.
Copyright (TZampino) 2020
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