The cupboards had all been flung open, and dishes lay helplessly on the cold tile floor of the kitchen. The porcelain disks, still intact, were deafening in their silent stillness; a physical representation of childhood abandon, naïveté, and search in a mysterious world. Past the kitchen, where the split level house in rural Connecticut earned its name, a trail of knick knacks from a riffled chest led towards the miniature detectives. A young boy, no more than eight years old (the elder of the two) barked orders to his sister, their matching brown hair as frayed and frantic as their hunt. It was hot in the house, a typical July day with the picture widows letting the oppressive sun’s rays float languidly throughout the house. A housecat’s dream, being able to stretch its fur out in those rays, it’s lethargic lifestyle being displayed prominently and without remorse. But these children were on a mission. Neither man nor God could dissuade them from the absolute human necessity of finding what they were after, namely their Christmas gifts. While their knowledge of seasons and holiday schedules were telling them that there was an eternity before St. Nicholas would be visiting them in the middle of the night, his sled pulled with the mighty force of eight reindeer, they still searched for the gifts from their parents. Even be it a new pair of woolen socks, the thrill of the hunt, and the delicious, sweet taste of success forced their little minds to search. Soon, the inevitable decision was reached, and the young girl, two years her brothers younger, said it best:
“We should look in mom and dad’s closet. I bet they’re in there.”
At some point in time, all children must break that barrier of privacy, and delve into their parents closets. The range of what one will find varies immensely. The most vanilla of households will have clothes, shoes, and other wardrobe accoutrement. Then, there are the houses where the skeletons are only hung in order to prevent the real monsters from being see by any outsider. For our two, the former was the life that their parents led. The father, archetype for the patriarch, with his nine to five at a respected law firm, and their mother, housekeeper, child raiser, and school teacher. Both respected throughout the community, and rightfully so. The lawn was trimmed, their private lives kept private, and their good nature only outshined by their good humor. Their story book marriage, high school sweethearts, soul recipients of each others undivided love, had been rock solid their entire adult lives. Their planners, tacked on the wall with as much care as they give their fine works of art, held more importance and beauty. Their house was pristine, and the children soon found themselves in the entry way of the even better kept boudoir.
Their height would be the factor that worked against them. Prior to the grow spurts that would warn of puberty, they stood tall enough to neither reach nor see the top shelf where the young ones were sure the goodies of a Christmas future sat, waiting anxiously to be found. A plan was soon formulated to use their collective lengths to see higher than once believed they could. The taller of the two would stand on top of the smaller, his longer frame able to get a better vantage point, or so he argued. And being the older and wiser, she soon gave way to his logic. And into her hands he placed his foot. All of his boyhood strength was transferred into that one limb, as he used his boyish hands to balance himself on her mess of hair. The spider web feeling under his palms tickled immensely, and soon he found himself fighting to stay upright. The swaying of her brother caused her to sway herself, and their collective swaying made the spider web feeling intensify, and that started the falling cycle all over again. Soon the swaying was too much, and with a great crash, both of the siblings came crashing down to the earth, with the intensity of a falling star, and the danger associated with a grandmother knitting. Could one of them been hurt? Surely. But in a time of great effort one is able to exert great strength and quickness, and with their adrenaline surging, they had managed to avoid each other and all other obstacles. They brushed themselves off, silently acknowledging something they didn’t quite understand. In hindsight, a concept they were far from understanding, they would see the universal justice in their near miss. The violation of the privacy of their parents, the fall. All things are connected. And while this is meaningless to the average child, to an adult the messages ring forever. Want not, be free. Want it all, deal with the consequences, great or minuscule. But for now, they would simply go about hiding their evidence until their mother came home and cooked them lunch.