The Saturday morning air lay heavy with mischief and possibilities. I descended the stairs, my short pudgy fingers grasping at the railings to keep me from toppling head over diaper. The shortness of my legs in contrast to the height of each step was a source of constant frustration. Their design had to be part of the maternal wardens over all plan of oppression and control, I was sure. Both feet safely landed on the bottom sidewalk, I relinquished my hold about the steel rod. Keeping a leery eye out for Bob, the rooster, I trotted out into the wardens private garden.
Remembering well the terror of the Warden’s “NO!” last time I had ventured here, I kept well clear of her sweet pea vines. Sweet though they may be, the joy of plucking each tasty morsel from its pod was short-lived, and the punishment of leaving empty pods on the vines for the Warden to find lasted often into nap time. I decided it was best to avoid an early nap all together. I eyed the mulberry bush. It’s bright purple and red berries looked like a delightful snack, and as far as I could remember, SHE hadn’t said anything about them.
Filled with excitement, for my tummy was yet again empty due to her neglect, I ran through the carpet of crunching walnut leaves, the rustle of my diaper keeping rhythm with my small feet. The size of my back side and head in comparison to the horrible stubbiness of my legs and toes left me wobbling a bit as I ran, almost tumbling again to the soft green earth. It amazed me that “She who must be obeyed” found my stubby toes and legs edible, often pretending to nibble on them. Had she any idea the sort of things I put my toes in, I doubted very much she would put them in her mouth, no matter how recent my bath. I would squeal with delight at the thought of her realizing where my feet and been, and the horrified face she would make, if she only knew.
At last is arrived beneath the wide branches of the mulberry tree. My fingers grasped at one of the bright purple gems, squashing a sticky sweet juice between each digit. The purple juice ran down my arms, staining everything it touched. The tartly sweet berries were consumed with a zeal that left me marked by their passage on face and arms. I loved the way my pale skin turned a dark purple with each berry.
Curiously, I crushed a few and rubbed them on my legs. The juice turned my skin a rapturous shade of purple. So caught up in the delightful painting of my flesh, I did not hear the Wardens entrance to the back porch until I was covered in the goo. She would not like this, she never liked it when I had fun. I had best cover up the evidence. Casting my eye around I saw the nice thick mud under the walnut tree. Wet, from a recent watering, it would do just nicely. Scooping up handfuls I smoothed them on my arms and legs. Realizing that my face gave the game away as assuredly as if I had not placed the camouflage at all, I rubbed into my hair and all over my face. Now, if I just sat very still under the tree, she would never see me and I would be free.
“Young lady, its time for lunch.” She who must be obeyed called out.
Lunch, how could I eat lunch! I was full of delicious mulberries. “You better not be eating my sweet peas young lady.” She called out. Descending rapidly down the evil stairs she cast her eyes about the garden for me.
Shrinking back against the tree I tried very hard to think like mud. “Mud, mud, mud” I whispered over and over again.
“Mud?” She repeated. Drat, she had heard me. Leaning forward, I attempted to lift my backside from the ground. These diapers, I was positive, where there simply to keep me from making my escape, their bulky content rendering any movement impossible.
Just has I achieved a standing position she exclaimed “Oh for PETES Sake! What did you do!” Holding me out from her body she took me hastily back to the wash room. “We will just have to hose you off right here. There is no way you are going into my house covered in mud.”
Yanking my shirt from around my over large head, she mutter, “what is this mess made from? Walnut shells…good lord this is a mess.” Turning on the sink she dumped me into the basin, scrubbing every inch of my body. “These clothes are ruined young lady. I can’t imagine what your were thinking… just what…” Her speech failed as the purple hues I had added to my skin began to emerge.
“Gary…you must come out here this instant. Your eldest daughter has painted herself purple! Yes, I know you’re holding her sister…but come her!” Looking to the mirror in the laundry room, I grinned. The whites of my eyes and the white of my teeth where the only thing that resembled the girl I had once been. A dark walnut mop lay a top a purple grinning face. At last, I had achieved success! That would teach them for fussing over the new baby and ignoring me. Now everyone would notice me. I was purple!