A Jar Full of Galaxy

My son collects marbles. He collects a good many things, but his earliest collection would have to be the marbles. He keeps them in a bright orange plastic container, about 3 feet wide. And 12 inches deep. For years it sat in the living room; I grew tired of vacuuming around it and enlisted the help of some strapping young men to relocate it to the playroom.

I’m not sure what the attraction was. He was a regular at the auction house, when he saw something he wanted, (marbles), he’d hold his card up. After awhile, the auctioneer stopped looking for an approval from me. He was probably in preschool then…and no one wants to outbid a preschooler for marbles! Was that it, the thrill of the hunt? The score? Or was it the fact that he could sit in this big tub and play in it like it was a sandbox.

Perhaps it was the same reason everyone is fascinated by them when they hold them, all of those unique swirls inside. They are like tiny galaxies. When I was a young girl, I would hold them up and look at each one, wondering how those colored swirls got in there. I could daydream that a little world lay inside, maybe even make up an adventure in that world.

The other day, as I passed the playroom door, I saw my boy sitting in his bucket Universe. He was holding one up to the light coming through the window. I stood quietly and watched him with his one eye shut and his tongue barely peeking through the side of his mouth. I wondered what tiny worlds he saw, what adventures he was having.

With only the slightest movement, he whispered, “Hi, Ma.” I walked in and knelt beside him.
“What do you see in there?” I asked.
“A slide.”
“Oh, that is cool.”
“Yeah, it’s pretty big, you could slide across the whole country with it.”
“Wow.”
He stood up and climbed out of his marbles and went to the window with it. He held it up, then lowered it again and walked back to sit in the marbles. (The windowsill comes to his nose. All he could see was sky and the tops of buildings.)
“You know what I like best about being a Little Person?”
“You can slide your slide through the clouds?”
He gave me a disappointed look…I could have done better.
“You know what I saw when I looked out the window with my marble?”
“I’ll bet it was a fantastic world with more colors and swirls and…”
“Glass, Ma, I saw glass.”
“Oh.”
“What I like about being a Little is I can sit in these marbles. No one else can fit. I’m gonna do this forever.”
I smiled and watched as he wiggled his feet to bury them. I guess I would too, if I could.

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