Wearing a bright yellow taffeta dress, a sash of satin ribbons at the waist and flowing with swirling layers, my granddaughter arrives for the movie. We’ve been trying to get in to see Beauty and the Beast for weeks now and finally secured tickets.
“Well look at you!” I exclaim, arms open to receive her in a big hug. On her feet are pink, tasselled moccasins – a Christmas gift from yours truly. Her thin blonde hair, caked with the oil her mother must apply everyday to control eczema, is pulled back into a tiny braid.
Small for her age, my four-year-old granddaughter makes up for it in presence. She seldom stops moving, hopping about in excitement.
It’s 9:30 in the morning, but her mom obligingly lines up to make the experience complete.
We’ve come to the theater with lazy boy chairs, an innovation that has made movie-going accessible for people like me (if only they’d turn down the volume). Armed with our treats, we settle into our assigned seats and await the movie.
“She had to dress like Belle,” her mother explains. I hadn’t seen the dress before, but seemingly she has a closet full of hand-me-down dresses, barely worn by their predecessors. Sloane refuses to wear anything but dresses.
As the movie starts, she whispers that if it gets too scary, she’ll hold my hand. She’s not afraid of anything, she tells me, but is concerned that I might be, and it’s an offer I am certain to take advantage of often.
When Belle appears, Sloane is quick to point out that they both have braids. She is glued to the story, and only at the end when Gaston is threatening to kill Beast does she show fear. I remind her that the Beast is strong and will survive. She repeats what I say to reassure herself.
After, I ask her which part she liked the best. Without hesitation she answers:
“All the parts, Grandma!” Her blue eyes are wide, as if to say: How could you ask such a silly question.
“Did you enjoy the movie?” My husband asks on the way home.
“Very much so,” I answer thinking about my favourite part: the tiny hand that held mine making sure I wasn’t too afraid.