Conversations with Christopher: The Two Graces (and Theodoras)

Christopher sits in a central chair. To his left is a little girl with wavy, coppery-brown hair, a red cape spilling over her shoulders. To his right is another little girl with curly hair dressed in a red sweater. The two children look very similar, right down to the stuffed bears they hold in their laps, yet the child on the right has a little more expression in her face while the one on the left has a smooth, dreamlike quality as if she isn’t quite substantial.

Christopher: Good to see you both again…Grace. (He glances at each girl, unsure which he’s speaking to.)

Left Grace (the Grace on the left in the cape): Good to see you, too, and to meet you…Grace.

Right Grace: (the Grace on the right in the sweater): Oh wow! (She claps one hand on her cheek, almost dropping Theodora Bear.) It’s really you, isn’t it? You’re Princess Grace from Grace and Theodora: Magic and Mishaps, it’s so great to meet you! I can’t believe you’re real, only you’re not real, you’re here, you’re really here, wearing the cape, just like in all the illustrations-

Theodora: Growwr.

Christopher is trying very hard not to chuckle. The Grace on the left, however, doesn’t seem to mind the attention at all. The Grace on the right looks down at the bear in her arms and over at Christopher.

Right Grace: Sorry, sorry. I’m babbling.

Left Grace: (She shakes her head.) It’s all right. I’m really happy to meet you, too. (She gazes at the other little girl with interest.) Tell me, is that sweater really scratchy?

Right Grace: Would you like to try it on yourself? I’d love to try your cape.

Left Grace: Yes! (She bounces off the seat, only to set her Theodora down with care, and slips off her cape.)

Right Grace: (Just as eager, she almost falls out of her seat, knocking her Theodora over. She catches her bear just in time, putting her on the chair, and struggles to get out of her sweater.)

Christopher looks away, although there’s nothing really to look away from since the two girls are wearing dresses underneath. Both bears sit and observe with button eyes while one Grace hands her cape to the other, receiving the sweater in return. Christopher keeps his eyes averted while the left Grace tries to figure out how to fit her arms into the sweater, wincing at the roughness of the wool, yet seeming to delight in the discomfort. The Grace on the right swings the cape over her shoulders in sheer bliss, eyes dreamy, fingers playing with the material.
Left Grace: (at last inside the wooly garment) You were right in Wind Me Up, One More Time when you said this was scratchy. It’s kind like wearing a thicket that doesn’t leave marks on your skin.

Right Grace: Isn’t it? I’m not sure why Maia used that wool, but it’s supposed to keep me warm.

Left Grace: It is warm. Much warmer than the cape.

Right Grace: Your cape feels wonderful. Soft, softer than anything I’ve ever felt. (She hugs the flaps of the garment.)

Left Grace: You can keep wearing it if you like, for as long as we’re here.

Right Grace: Can I? (She pulls the edges tighter around herself, breathing in its smell.) Thank you.

Left Theodora: (sitting in the chair) Growwr.

Left Grace: Theodora says if she didn’t know me well enough to recognize me, she’d be really confused.

Christopher: She’s not the only one. You two look so much alike…and how is Theodora growling when there’s no one nearby to turn the crank in her back?

Left Grace: Oh, my Theodora, or rather, Nathalie’s Theodora doesn’t always need me to turn her crank to growl.

Right Grace: My Theodora does. At least I think so. Actually I’m not sure.

Right Theodora: Growwr.

Right Grace: Only it seems she doesn’t. How does she do that?

Christopher: What does she say?

Right Grace: This is the Cauldron of Eternal Inspiration, a fourth wall space of impossibility. Theodora can do things here she can’t normally.

Christopher: A bit like the Shadow Forest…no wonder I’m here so often.
Left Theodora: Growwr.

Left Grace: That makes sense and I agree. Grace, you look very pretty in that cape.

Right Grace: (fusses with a curl) Really? Thank you. You look very pretty in my sweater, prettier than I do.

Left Grace: Can’t say I agree with that. It’s great to meet you in person.

Right Grace: It really is.

Left Grace: I wish we could have met in Wind Me Up, One More Time.

Right Grace: Me, too! Think of all the adventures we could have had.

Left Grace: We could have had tea and apple brownies together. I could have met Heidi, Heather, Maia, and your Nathalie.

Right Grace: (She takes a step closer.) I could have gone with you in that scary wood, helped you find Iama’s heart.

Left Grace: (She takes a step closer as well.) We could have gone to school together, all of us.

Right Grace: (She’s very close to the other Grace.) I could have held your hand when you faced all those reflections in Iama’s hall of mirrors.

The two girls reach out to clasp each other’s hands.

Christopher gazes at this scene, his own eyes swimming with memories of taking someone’s hand himself, the moment he became a little more real. The Grace on the left now looks a little sharper, a little more distinctive.

Right Theodora: Growwr.

Left Grace: What’s she saying?

Right Grace: (ducking her head) Um, that Heather and Heidi might be jealous if they saw us like this, seeing as they want to marry me. I don’t agree. I think they’d love you if they met you.

Left Grace: (in a wistful voice) I wish I could meet them.

Right Grace: I wish you could, too.

Left Theodora: Growwr.

Left Grace: Yes, I know all sorts of things are possible in this Cauldron. I wonder if the scribbler would let me?

Christopher: You could always do what Quartz does. Pound on her imagination until she considers it.

Left Grace: (brightening) I could, couldn’t I?

(Somewhere offstage, I groan and rub my temples in anticipation.)

Left Grace: It makes me a little sad, being just a character in your story, Grace.

Right Grace: You’re not just a character! The thought of you makes me stronger! Reading about your adventures, why if I hadn’t, I never would have wanted a bear of my own! I never would have met Theodora!

Left Grace: Really?

Right Grace: Really! Lots of people love and fall in love with fictional characters. Why, we’re all fictional characters here!

Left Grace: Thank you. (She looks down at their small fingers, wrapped around each other’s.) I really don’t want to let go of your hand, Grace.

Right Grace: I don’t either.

Christopher: (He rubs his eyes) I wish I’d never let go of his.

Left Theodora: Growwr.

Left Grace: We’re making Christopher cry. Plus Theodora feels unhugged.

Christopher: Sorry. (He does his best to smile.)

Right Theodora: Growwr.

Right Grace: My Theodora feels the same way. I don’t want to let go, but I have an idea.

Left Grace: I think it’s the same as mine. You ready?

Right Grace: Ready!

The two little girls release each other’s hands. They walk over to their chairs, pick up their Theodoras. They walk back to each other, shifting their bears to one arm and grabbing each other’s fingers again.

Christopher: (gazes at them as if he’s just had a revelation) It can’t be that simple. Can it? (He speaks to himself more than anyone present.) All I have to do is find him and grasp his hand once more.

Left Theodora: Growwr.

Left Grace: Sorry, Christopher. We forgot you were here.

Christopher: It’s all right. I’ve been somewhat elsewhere myself.

Right Grace: Did you want to ask us questions?

Christopher: Well, I was going to, but the two of you were getting along so well, I didn’t want to get in the way. I felt a bit like a fifth wheel to be honest. (For a moment, he turns into a wheel, only to reform as a youth.)

Both Graces giggle.

Christopher: I’ll admit, all of this hand-holding is reminding me of someone. Someone who once took my hand and made me feel more real. Someone I miss.

Left Grace: Makes me jealous of you, Christopher.

Right Grace: Me, too.

Christopher: Why?

Left Grace: I never get to hold Grace’s hand like this in Wind Me Up, One More Time.

Right Grace: I’m guessing you got to hold onto your someone in your story.

Christopher: That’s true.

Left Grace: Treasure that moment. It might be all you’ve got.

Right Grace: (looking into her namesake’s eyes) Yes.

The two Graces and their bears disappear.

Christopher: That reminded me of a lot of moments in my story or stories. I can’t say I didn’t treasure the moment. It doesn’t mean I don’t want more.

 

Who doesn’t want more? Perhaps it’s just as well the Graces never did meet in Wind Me Up, One More Time. Heather and Heidi might have had some competition if they did. 🙂 To meet the Graces yourself in their story, here’s some buy links…

Mischief Corner Books/Shenanigans Press: https://www.mischiefcornerbooks.com/wind-me-up-one-more-time.html#/

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B081LPX2WH/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Wind+Me+Up%2C+One+More+Time&qid=1573974211&s=books&sr=1-1
Kobo:https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/wind-me-up-one-more-time

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/wind-me-up-one-more-time-ks-trenten/1134959345

Apple: https://books.apple.com/us/book/id1488235515?fbclid=IwAR1_ox2T5jIHibPFBHUqTck0SNaP3pcZIgNM4DS3VAjU47mn3o5iu260bMA

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