My favorite time of night. The desert wind gusts through the screen and fans the pages glowing orange in the late summer sunset. A freshly shampooed, curly head cuddles up close.
“Is this the last chapter tonight, Mom?”
“Last one,” I reply with a bittersweet tone. Saying goodbye to a friend is never easy.
The reality in the fiction hits my heart tonight. Salty, halting words tumble out.
“It’s OK, Mommy, don’t cry. It’s just a story.”
He doesn’t yet realize that the best stories are the most true.
But I’m doing it again. He’s used to it. I did it when Jack the faithful bulldog died, when Laura’s home burnt down, when Eustace was undragoned, and when Christian reached the Celestial City. I’ll do it again, I’m sure. We’re only at the beginning of our literary journey. So many old friends are left for me to introduce him to.
“I was just thinking about what it will be like to meet Jesus like King Caspian is meeting Aslan.”
“Oh, now I see why you’re crying.” A knowing missing-toothed smile soothes me.
After the covers are tucked in tight, I retreat. More tears and a deep longing. Deeper than hunger or thirst. Deeper than love for a child, even love for a spouse, is my longing to know the reality of what sometimes seems fictional because it's just that fantastical.