My daughter dances with her shadow…
Each time the light is just right and the music is good, she excitedly proclaims, “My shadow is here,” as if her long lost most dearest friend has just arrived. I’m mesmerized as she twirls until she’s dizzy and I listen to her intoxicating giggles as she keeps track of her shadow, like a dog chases its tail.
I smile to myself, biting my tongue so I don’t break the spell by saying, “Honey, this isn’t Neverland.”
Because for a moment they are reunited, inseparable. I can’t help but wonder if she doesn’t know that she and Peter Pan share a twilight secret. Maybe she knows death snatched Shadow away from her, maybe she knows that Shadow will always be caught in that liminal space between sleep and awake, maybe she knows Shadow still wants to play.
And so, I watch them dance in the light together like they did when God first made them, blinking stinging tears from my eyes. Suddenly, almost if I’ve stumbled upon a place I shouldn’t be, I’m caught between silent grief and undeserved peace. I linger in that moment for longer than anyone else would. And I’m thankful that they still have each other.
This is of course a fantasy, a stardust dream that belongs in Neverland. Shadow doesn’t live here and he never will. My daughter doesn’t know Shadow, at least not really. Not like she’d know her twin had he just made it earthside. But if there’s a hint of truth to twin connection, then I will cling to the hope that maybe she knows him in a way I do not.
Maybe her heart learned long before it was time that hearts can still love even when they’re broken. I don’t know…But, she adores Shadow. I won’t tell her she can’t fly. Or that she can’t dance. Or that Shadow is just a trick of the light. The world will do that soon enough.
For now, Neverland isn’t beyond the second star to the right. It’s just a step away in my tiny living room. A little fairy shows me the way when I forget.