Princess Mistball
(or, not to be shown to my family, especially after I am dead)
Kay Sexton

When I was nine I was Princess Mistball. In my bed, at night, with the door-frame, right-angle, hall-light illumination all that stood between me and night fear, Princess Mistball spun very fast and disappeared. In her place: a ball of mist. Don’t bother dragging out the psychobabble, I know what it means.

Now I am Pointillist Woman. It’s all a matter of distance. From over there I am a functioning female (not fat, not fair, but forty) and from here, where I stand inside, looking out, I am mainly gaps.

Gaps between me and my son, the independent preteen, a boy mildly affectionate, introspective, imperviously distant. Will he remember it was not always like this? Until he was two years old, his out-breath was my in-breath, all night long.

Gaps between me and my mother (fat, not fair, not forty), whom I worshipped once as the cool, far-off devotee of domesticity. To imagine my out-breath as her in-breath would have been sacrilege.

Now she watches daytime soaps.

Between me and my life? Gaps. Where I should feel things—gaps. Where I should care—gaps.

But from over there you see a well rounded, subtly shaded woman, full of contrast and detailed charm. Throw thirty-one years of camouflage at Princess Mistball, that’s what you get.

At least these days I have a night light.

“I really did used to daydream about Princess Mistball when I was a child. A comment from my mother some thirty years later took me back to that point and caused me to reflect on how much of my life I had lived out as this particular superhero!”


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