Source: Pixabay

Playing Peek-a-boo With a Friend

Yesterday was a very grueling day at work. Everyone seemed to be in a foul mood. Where was the holiday spirit? My own spirits were in a slow decline but then someone showed up to bring joy to my day.

I was sitting at a computer typing something when I stopped and looked to my left. And there, standing about ten feet away, was my special little friend staring at me.

I don’t even know her name but does that matter? I am guessing that she is probably about two and a half years old. She has extremely curly red/orange hair and she also has Down Syndrome. I have never heard her speak but she sure can giggle.

Whenever her mother comes into the building she will set the girl down on the floor and the girl immediately starts wandering the building looking for me. We’ve been friends for almost a year.

I said hello and we stared at each other for a moment. This little girl has uncanny staring abilities. She can stare seemingly forever and she can go longer without blinking than any human I’ve ever met. Whenever we stare at each other I am always the first to blink and she is always the first to giggle.

After staring for a while I looked back at the computer screen for a moment then I abruptly turned back towards her with a goofy look on my face.

She giggled and danced.

Then I put a manila folder in front of my face for a moment then whisked it away with another goofy grin on my face.

Again the girl giggled and danced.

I could play peek-a-boo with her all day and she would never grow tired of it. That is why she always seeks me out when in the building. Apparently, I’m good for a giggle and a dance. And watching a little girl giggle and dance is definitely good medicine for me.

After about 7 or 8 minutes of giggling, dancing and playing peek-a-boo the mother came by and picked up the girl as she headed for the exit. Looking back over her mother’s shoulder she kept staring at me. I waved good-bye but she did not wave back. Instead she giggled again.

Seeing my special friend was the highlight of the day and my spirits most emphatically rose. But after they left the building I had a sad realization. Since come Sunday (tomorrow) I will be officially and blissfully unemployed, I will no longer be working in that building. I might not ever see my special friend again.

I have another special friend that I know I will see again every day because this friend lives in my bedroom. But this friend is not a human. It’s a plant — a big plant. It’s a big fat aloe vera plant that sits on a little table directly next to the head of my bed in front of a window.

I’ve been growing aloe vera plants for decades but I have never had one that got this big after just seven years. It’s about three feet tall and has some fat leaves that are almost two feet long. Since it is always stretching towards the window I routinely turn the plant and consequently it is very twisty and curvy and spirally. It is truly breathtakingly beautiful.

And it weighs a ton. More precisely, along with its pot, the aloe weighs about 90 pounds (more than my 9-year-old granddaughter). Being right next to my head as I sleep, if that aloe suddenly tipped over on my head I would probably be killed.

But it wouldn’t do that, right? After all, we’re friends.

I don’t just obsessively grow plants. I become friends with each and every one of them. After all, they feed us oxygen while we feed them carbon dioxide and water. How on earth can anyone not be friends with plants?

For decades I have slept with aloe vera plants (and other plants) near and around my head. When I get in bed it’s like I’m crawling into a little hole in the forest. It makes for better dreaming and healthier sleep.

But with aloe vera plants it is more than just oxygen that they are providing. Aloe plants also give off negative ions which are extremely beneficial to humans. (Positive ions can be detrimental. I know. It sounds backwards.)

So anyway, around 3 o’clock this morning my eyes suddenly popped open. I didn’t move or get up. I was sleeping on my side facing the giant aloe vera plant. Light from the now waning full moon was pouring in through the window illuminating the aloe plant. It looked like the plant was lit up both from the outside and from within.

It was so outrageously beautiful! Like the Down Syndrome girl, all I could do was stare. I didn’t giggle, though. But I simply could not take my eyes off the plant. The plant is gorgeous at any time of day but bathed in moonlight it was like an angelic apparition.

I scooted closer to the edge of the bed so that I could be bathed in moonlight, too. With moonlight on my face I kept staring at the aloe plant. It was like staring at celestial art. I was filled with rapturous joy.

But unlike my special human friend I can’t stare for long without blinking. My blinking slowly accelerated and before I knew it I fell back asleep…

… bathed in ions and moonlight.

I’ve got some wonderful friends. Am I lucky or what?

Earthling — Lifelong novelist & essayist —

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