World View

When I was a very young child, before I went to school, my mom would take me to run errands.  I knew, from logical deduction, that the entire world was a great stage play put on for my benefit. When I couldn't see them, the actors in the play, i.e. all the world's people, were on break, waiting until I arrived.  It was God's job to warn the actors when I was near so they could take their places and pretend to be going about their false lives so that I would believe the world was vast and filled with strangers whose own lives were more important to them than mine.  I imagined that before I turned a corner, everyone was slumped against counters and walls, smoking cigarettes and quietly discussing the meaning of my life.

I desperately wanted to catch them in the act.  I hid behind my mom's skirt and popped out right as we turned a corner, or I dashed ahead of my mom hoping to surprise everyone who would turn to see me and gasp, cigarettes dangling from their fingers as they scrambled to take their positions.  But they were very good at their jobs and forever evaded detection, convincingly pretending that they didn't even know I was there except for a few old ladies whose job it was to lean down and coo at me about how much they loved my curly hair.  Other old ladies said it was too bad that curly hair was wasted on a little boy, since my mom insisted on cutting my hair short and I insisted on wearing my brothers' hand-me-downs.  "I'm a girl," I told them.  And they pretended to be surprised by that, even though they already knew everything there was to know about me, just as I knew the truth about them, because I could smell the intriguing scent of freshly smoked cigarettes on their breath.

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