Wallie on Best Friends in Low Places

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Wallie the Imp and I were walking through campus to meet my Friend. Wallie has a marvelous skill for not being noticed by strangers, so I was able to keep him with me. I daresay everyone thought I was a little off center for walking about speaking rudimentary Impish, but I had out my mobile, my cell phone, as a prop, and that made it all better.

We hadn’t gone far when we saw a nice young couple sitting together, talking. They were very handsome. That made me think about what it is to be attractive, and how that kind of picture-perfection is quite beyond me.

“It isn’t easy,” I told Wallie. “Looking good takes practice. A girl can put on a lot of makeup, but it wears off in an hour or so, and then no boys will want to talk to you. You look like you fell out of a bin.”

Wallie the Imp told me that he would talk to me even if I had fallen out of a bin. He would want to know why I hadn’t stayed there.*

“Prince Charming has got to marry a beautiful princess,” I went on. “If he liked a girl like me**, awkward and bony and not at all smart, they’d think he’d lost his mind.*** I can imagine how awful it must be for sensible people with reputations to fall in love. Imagine mam’selle**** with a magnifying glass, trying to figure if the man she loves has the right nose or the proper measure of hair, and if his tie matches his eyes, and so on!”

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Wallie said he likes me. So does my Friend.

“That’s my point,” I told him. “You’re both entirely insane. I’m insane, for talking to you! And what’s worse, I can’t imagine being interested in  anyone else. That’s why I haven’t got many friends. They think I’ve lost my grip, my marbles, my sense. I don’t know what’s the matter with me!”

Wallie thought that was funny. He clapped his wee hands and began to recite:

***

Princess Iz sits on her throne.

Princess Iz is all alone.

“So long I’ve searched on land, by sea—

“Still I can’t find some One for me.

*

“The other girls say I’ll be late

“That Time is mad and Age won’t wait

“And really it’s a fantasy

“That there is a right One, for me.

*

“Too many books, too many songs

“Have flipped my head and taught me wrong.

“I pick and choose reality

“Make up what should but cannot be.”

*

And so with heavy head and eye,

The Princess Iz gives out a sigh.

For all their grace and royalty

No prince would suit her own fancy.

*

But bat-wing pair and lizard scale

That turns the pretty young things pale—

The Princess Iz alights to see

And says: “Now that’s the One for me.”

***

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We had almost reached my Friend. He was sitting by himself on a bare old bench, his long scarf falling over his lap and dragging on the sidewalk. He had his cell in his hand and was working away with his thumb. I knew he wasn’t texting anyone. It was just playacting, so he wouldn’t look alone.

I took Wallie off my shoulder.

“You know,” I said, “I think you might be right.”

*Wallie makes nests for himself all over the house. I was horrified to find him in the garbage one day, cozy as a cricket.

**Heaven forbid an ogress.

***What if, I wonder, Snow White had decided she had rather live with the dwarves in the woods, than else?

**** Mademoiselle, the French for “Miss.”

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