Susan looked at her hands, because she couldn’t talk about her siblings while seeing anyone’s face “Well you know you have to stop playing games all the time. Sometimes I wonder…but if there was such a person, then why did we survive the war just to die. Fairy Stories do not do you much good when you are sad.” She then did look up and then rested her head gently on her husband Matthew’s shoulder.
Matthew, wisely didn’t say anything, for the moment.
Meanwhile, Bobbi hugged her knees in tight to her chest under the bed, thinking fiercely about what her mother said. She thought of what it might be like to have a passel of aunts and uncles…and for the first time it occurred to her that she was also missing cousins to visit.
The wind seemed to howl through the empty house.
Matthew hugged Susan and said, “You must be missing them a lot today.”
Susan’s voice sounded like a frog’s, “It’s this old house in the rain, it rained nonstop that summer, you know. And…Rain makes me think of bombs though heaven knows…well everyone knows we were well away from all of that”
“I know.” Matthew said, simply.
Bobbie knew then that her mother needed a hug, so she uncurled, and scooted from under the bed and slid on the bed quietly snuggling into her mother’s arms.
“it’s ok, Mama, I’m sure your brothers and sister knew that you loved them very much, and that’s all that mattered”
Strangely this made the tears seem to come down Susan’s face faster.
“How could they not know mom? After all, you tell me all the time how it was that summer, that you had each other and your stories, and the dear old professor that somehow that was enough.”
Susan gave a little hiccup sigh, and seemed to catch her breath.
Bobbie glanced a the rain outside, which was really coming down in sheets, “And I guess if on rainy days the stories aren’t enough, that makes sense too.”
Susan then collected herself, and said, “I guess these days I’m just trying to be realistic honey.”
Bobbie thought hard about this.
Matthew squeezed Bobbie’s hand, and Bobbie felt the knot that she didn’t know was in her chest loosen.
“I don’t see why you can’t be realistic and still not know that tea with a faun is still important. I know you told me the story isn’t probably true Mama, but….”
Bobbie’s voice changed to a whisper…”Sometimes I pretend it is, and sometimes I pretend it’s me and Mr. Tumnus and my doll is Aunt Lucy, and somehow I feel like Aslan loves me anyway, and I don’t feel near as so lonesome anymore.” Bobbie bravely tried to say all of this without looking at the empty cradle where baby Thomas had once slept.
Susan then did the best thing ever, and she looked right at Thomas’s cradle, then at Matthew, and then at Bobbie, and swept everyone in a big hug.
“That’s ok darling, sometimes I still pretend its all true too. And sometimes it helps me when I’m lonesome. Sometimes I think we can pretend without believing. I think it’s funny how that works.”
And they all sat on the bed and thought about it.