Unicorns

Yesterday was one of those days, not awful, just kind of hard, the sort of day you can handle but would really prefer not to, like flossing your teeth. Afterwards, you’re glad you did but wouldn’t ever choose to do it again, all the while knowing you will have to.

It started off with a drive into Hilo in pouring rain, Puna style. It pours, it stops, it drizzles, it pours again. I was a little old lady hunch over the steering wheel, desperately searching for the road in front of us. My right wrist developed battle fatigue from turning the wipers on and off so many times.

Safe but already tired, we arrived in town and began chipping away at our list of chores.

  • Hearing test – check
  • Buy a sandwich – check
  • Stock up on soy milk – check
  • Eat sandwich in eye doctor’s parking lot – check
  • Eye doctor appointment – check
  • Haircut (Finally! We were both starting to look like old mops.) – check

At last we returned to the peace and quiet of home. As I gave myself a mental pat on the back for getting everything done, I noticed that the lights on Leo’s unicorn headset were blinking.

I had a moment of panic. We hear such awful stories about zombie meth heads in this area, breaking into people’s homes and doing awful things. Had someone broken in and (gasp!) left Leo’s lights blinking? I took a quick look around but nothing else seemed to be amiss. So I plucked the headset off Leo’s fuzzy head and switched the lights off. But they kept on blinking. I switched again and again, my wonder and frustration building as sinister shadows reached for my toes from under the bed and ominous music welled up in the background.

What…how…why…huh?

In desperation, I pulled the cover off the battery case and discovered that one of the batteries had corroded and fused itself to its neighbor. I suppose this closed a circuit–or summoned a ghost–and Leo’s lights were merrily blinking their way toward dead battery heaven. I grabbed my trusty pliers, plucked the offending batteries from their nest. The lights calmed; the music faded; the sinister fingers shriveled and receded to the region of dust bunnies and lost tissues under the bed. I returned Leo to the top of the hat rack, unicorn headset bereft of batteries. He didn’t seem to mind.

My heart was still aflutter when we discovered a box by the front door. Inside there was a nest of soft green tissue and when I pulled it away, a serene white unicorn looked up at me and winked.

The rain stopped, the clouds parted and all the stresses of the day melted into that soft gaze, a gentle reminder that we have to do whatever we have to do, but whether or not it troubles us is a matter of choice.

Thank you, Pa. You made my day…and week…and month…maybe even the whole year.

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