we had been watching Princess Mononoke for a couple of days then, a Miyazaki-anime in which prince Ashitaka struggles to make human beings and animals live together in harmony. she had kept asking me questions about the Japanese. that April day which happened to be her birthday as well, i took out a pair of chopsticks to teach her how to use them. at one point, she became pensive and, after a while, said almost imploring: oh how i wish Ashitaka could come out of the story and be here, with us!
the intensity of her pleading caught me unawares: i am afraid this is not possible, little one. she looked me in the eye: please, talk to somebody who can take Ashitaka out of the story and bring him here, there must be this someone, somewhere. i lowered my eyes. how i wished that this could be true, that this someone really existed, for her, for all of us. instead, i said, in a sudden moment of inspiration: you know, i have an idea, i can make _you_ part of the story.
we took out toys and little chairs and made costumes and re-enacted the entire plot, right there, under the blossoming trees of the garden. we took turns in playing all roles, her face glowing with happiness. at some point, though, she stopped and looked at me, and sweet-bitter sadness glimmered in her eyes: still, it's not the same, not the same...