This is the second piece of the delphine curriculum. It is a contemporary account, with an intimacy right out of StoryCorps. The dolphin mentioned that it narrates an event occurring just a few weeks before. “You would not have seen this in media reports, I’m sure,” he sighed: “so many meaningful events are missed in just this way.”
I am an Orthodox priest, and an administrator of a retreat center.
“Who is this?” I queried, “Sounds like a friend of mine.” “It doesn’t matter,” he said, “Just read on.”
Last week, the counselors and the nurse brought a young girl in to my office. They were concerned about her. When her parents dropped her off for a week, the three of them embraced, all in tears. Obviously, a breakup was going on. Nothing like church camp for a week while dad leaves the house.
That week, the little girl was withdrawn, always tearful and downcast. At night they could hear her groaning and thrashing. ‘It sounds like a lot of nightmares,’ I said, trying to sound more qualified and confident than I really was.
They brought her in, and we talked. She was quiet, even when I asked her about happy things. But I finally got around to asking what she dreamed about at night, she didn’t hesitate.
“My black kitty,” she said, like in a whisper.
“You’ll see your kitty when you go home on Saturday,” I tried to tell her. Stupid me.
“My black kitty got run over. Last month.”
“He jumped out of my chair, and ran out the door. I screamed Kitty! Kitty! And daddy screamed, and mommy screamed, and we ran out of the house, and the car skidded. We picked him up and he wasn’t moving.”
“I’m really sorry.” I put my hand on her shoulder.
“I went to bed. And Mommy and Daddy kept screaming. In the morning they said they don’t love each other no more.”
I felt drained.
“I dream about my black kitty all the time. Daddy’s leaving.”
So I’m telling this story because I want to say, anonymously, that parents have no idea what kids go through when they split … that I hear these stories over and over again, and I am getting really good at looking at a kid’s face and seeing either “pre-divorce” or “post-divorce” written all over it.
“Well, that was pleasant,” I muttered.
“We hear these stories all the time,” the dolphin nodded, sadly. He shook his head, annoyed, when he saw my surprise: “Don’t be so small-minded. As the single song of a whale can transverse the Seven Seas, so we can hear the sighs of children in the night. It’s the main reason why we play the fool at your little circuses. We like to see them laugh so much. It balances out the tears.”
“Please,” he mumbled, “excuse the sentimentality. In your world, the only ones who notice the darkness are the simple ones, who have not yet learned your sophisticated techniques of repression. Their dreams are prophecies, perceptions of the abysmal front. Their cries echo to those who have ears to ear: and nowadays, that is confined to the groaning creation.
"They’re children after all, but your world is not a good place for them.”