Hilary's ShadowMonday, September 11, 2006
I remember even the smell of the eucalyptus trees on the Boulevard of the Bebederos near our home in Arboledas, Estado de México 32 years ago. That day has been poignant in my memory. We had gone for a walk with Ale, our eldest daugther and with Hilary who was 2. I saw this (note photograph) and watched as Hilary became aware for the first time that she had a shadow. She would move her foot to one side and the other. In fascination she watched her shadow follow every move. I sometimes wonder why it is that such decisive moments in our life are blurs that can only come back if a photograph proves it all happened. I despair that so many moments shared with Rebecca in Washington DC, in Argentina (in years past) will someday become lost shadows in her memory.
While I don't remember discovering my shadow I did have a road to Damascus moment inside my parent's armoire. I may have been 4 or 5 but I am not sure. My mother had brought a package of American candy corn. In Buenos Aires they were better than real gold nuggets. My mother rationed them a bunch at a time. Sometimes I tried to prolong the pleasure by eating one kernel at a time. Or I would push them all into my mouth for one flavour burst. It did not escape me that my mother would return the package to her large armoire, which had two mirrored doors. I decided I was going to have my fill of candy corn one afternoon when my mother was away teaching at school. I walked into the armoire (it was that big). I found the bag and began to have my fill when I suddenly spied my image on the mirror. I watched the little boy as I moved my arm this way and that way. It was then that I was filled with the understanding that the little boy was me.