naturally, luigi and guido and two other cars came with us to the playground. i was not concerned about their safety because ander has always been so careful with his possessions, especially his prized ones.
alas, luigi slipped from ander's hand as he gazed into the brackish water from the bridge above. he called to diana for help, who, in turn, alerted me.
diana was simply amazing. this girl, the one who can be so squeamish when it comes to traversing mud or slippery slopes or unidentifiable muck in murky waters, took it upon herself to climb down below the bridge. i suggested she take off her socks, which she agreed to do, and then put her keans back on to protect her feet.
she stepped carefully and poked and prodded and searched all around the area where ander said he dropped his beloved car. she maintained a calm voice and demeanor. she had the presence of mind to tell the young new playground friends to stay back and not slip into the water.
we looked and looked, but alas, luigi could not be found. when we finally called off the search and diana came back up, she burst into tears, bitterly disappointed that she could not do as a big sister ought - to find the cherished toy of a beloved brother and bring the joy back to his face. ander simply walked to her, hugged her, and said, "it's okay, diana. it was just an accident."
diana's confident, mature response to her brother's crisis and ander's tender, quiet reassurance in reaction to his sister's frustration astonished me. i could not have predicted nor expected this from either of them. i was rendered speechless as i watched the whole scenario unfold.
when we got back to the car, i helped diana clean up her feet and get into dry shoes. we went to target and ander selected a replacement vehicle, not another luigi but another version of lightning mcqueen he did not yet have.
ander only spoke of luigi a few more times over the following days. diana and i came up with a story to tell about what luigi was doing, a narrative we hoped would help mitigate ander's pain of loss and concern that luigi would be eaten by the fish in the pond.
i asked diana to write a story for ander about luigi. she did and added an illustration. i think it was her first commissioned writing piece, and she was pleased to know that i valued her art enough to pay for it.
the tale may be a luigi adventure, but i will always consider it a love story.
she's given me permission to post it here.
Luigi and the Deep-Sea Dive
Luigi was dangling over the bridge in Ander’s hand, comfortably and loosely held. He looked at the muddy pond water below. “If I am let go,” Luigi thought, “I will be a deep-a sea diver! I have been dreaming of this my whole-a life!”
All of a sudden, Luigi plunged down to the water. With a splash, he dove through the surface and onto the pond floor. “I am filled with tears of ecstasy!”
“Oh no!” cried Ander. “Luigi went in the water!”
Everyone started to look for Luigi. Diana took off her socks and splashed into the mud to look. Lots of people stood on the bridge and stared at the water, looking for the little car. But Luigi stayed hidden under a pile of sticks.
Later, after everyone had left, Luigi began to explore. He discovered a school of fish. Their names were: Aquarius, Brooklyn, Calder, Dayla, Eathelin, Douglas, Kelby, Fontaine, Kendra, Mortimer, and Nixie. Luigi was the only Italian one, though. He swam with them for a while, and then he tried to eat some pond weed. “Ptuh!” he said. It tasted horrible!
Eventually, Luigi drove out of the water and slept on the bank. Tomorrow he would dive again.