Claire was my baby. She had shiny brown skin, and a soft little body that I dressed in a yellow jumpsuit. She slept beside me every night, and watched over me every day. Whenever I went on an adventure, her little body swung lovingly from my right fist, her head bumping gently against each surface I passed. Claire was perfect. I would describe everything to my Claire.
-We’re in a park now, and the trees are big and spiky, there are leaves on the ground and they are brown.
I described everything to Claire because, for all her perfection, Claire was blind. Her little eyes were closed on the Christmas morning we first met, and they stayed closed throughout our lives together. Nobody ever explained why Claire’s eyes were closed, but I knew. Claire had seen something no child should ever see. Claire had seen Santa Claus.
When Santa came down the chimney and left Claire under the tree she couldn’t help it; she had to peek. And when Claire peeked her little eyes flew shut and got stuck that way and that’s how come she was the way she was. Santa wasn’t being mean, that was just the rule.
It was a long time before I learned that newborn babies’ eyes are closed, and even longer before I connected that to Claire. Even though I know now, I prefer the strangely dark story my little self believed.