I don't know what she saw that day.
Baby Boy saw it too. He was just outside the frame in the mirror frame.
"Look, Mimi. It's a lion."
I was already mesmerized; the beast looking over my shoulder, captured in my lens. The picture in my mind spoke volumes before the child said a word. Somehow he knew not to interrupt us.
The lion and me.
"And you are?"
"Yes. You are...well....you are. And you are staring at me."
He didn't flinch.
"It's making me quite uncomfortable really."
"I only asked you who you were."
"Well. YOU seem quite sure of yourself. Your name. Your place on the wall and in the world. Me? I was just remembering how good it is to be free.... before you and your wheat ragged jungle butted into my business. I've never seen you in this store before. Ummmm Sir. Then you had to arrest me with that glare and ask me my name."
He was staring. I was staring. Baby Boy was quiet as a mouse.
"Familiar you are. Where did you come from and why do you bother me so? You with those authentic eyes in the grass...protecting your kingdom and popping up in the strangest of places.
I...I think I may know you. You are...may I say...quite spectacular."
"What does she look like?" he asked.
"This woman you call Mimi Lenox."
"You see her in the mirror, don't you?"
"Is she strong like me?"
"I think so."
"Does she know who she is?"
"Yes, I think so."
"Does she belong anywhere?"
"To whom, Mimi Lenox, do you belong?"
How dare he ask.
I glared with a sense of wonder and admiration. Where did you come from? And why do you ask me such things? But since any ordinary day rarely holds court with kingly lions, I thought I'd better answer him.
"Well...if you must know I will tell you. I belong to the courageous one. He who is capable of holding my gaze without flinching. He who will ask me strong questions and not mind that I am weak. He who knows a thing or two about a camera, a lens, and a reflection...and love, that too...he will know about love. All about it. He will lie in the tall grass with me and we will ask questions of stars.
He's the one. I belong to him. I don't know him yet, but I know he is waiting."
"What does he look like?" asked the Lion.
"He looks like someone I know. And for the life of me I must say, he looks like someone familiar...someone like you."
How did I ever get so lucky to be paired with such a magnificent soul in a floppity-flip flea market house on a summery fall day? One who has his own kingdom and knows where he sits in the grass.
I never met such a beautiful audacious soul in all my life.
"Let's go, Mimi," whispered Baby Boy, tugging on my hand.
Click went the shutter.
Thank you, Mr. Lion, I whispered to myself. One day the strength I've been seeking will stare back at me as you have. Only this time....I will not be afraid.
And somewhere behind me in the back of a rickety store full of wisdom in frames, I heard a roar and a rustle in a field of lovely grass.
"You are not afraid, Mimi Lenox."
No. I am not afraid.
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