“You don’t even exist”
“Yes I do!!”
“Nope… you don’t exist”
I can hear the whine rise in Izzy’s voice with each declaration of her non-existence. She can tell by the way Zoe is saying it that this is not something she should be happy about and she is rising to the occasion and slinging back her own insult…
“I do exist and you have poo on your head”.
Zoe is still tossing the words around, despite the fact that she has now walked away, basking in the glory of winning the insult war, for now.
“You don’t exist” she mutters “dinosaurs don’t exist…nothing exists… this pencil doesn’t exist”.
She’s not really sure what the words means. She can tell you that dinosaurs don’t exist, she can use the word in a sentence and change it’s tense, but she can’t tell you what ‘exist’ means. The concept is too abstract for her to fully grasp and explain, she just skirts the edge of understanding and tosses the word around to see how it works.
She knows it is a powerful concept, a powerful word. She knows that ‘not existing’ is not something people seem to want to do and she knows that flinging it at her sister will get her the desired response.
I could have stepped in. I could have stopped the slinging match before it had even begun, told Zoe not to tell her sister she didn’t exist, that it isn’t a ‘nice’ thing to say, but I didn’t. I could have stepped in and explained the word ‘exist’, tried to articulate the concept and get them to understand the meaning, but I didn’t.
I sat back and listened…. I listened to Zoe’s brain working and growing and learning right there in front of me. I listened with pure joy and amazement. Quietly, as if I didn’t exist.