Shaina, Brian and I are slacklining between the two teatrees in front of my dad’s house. It's perfect, this spot, we've gotten out of the house (productive productive) without actually leaving it and we're still moving slow and we're the only ones left at the house. It's the day preceding the last night of the year and it's beautiful out, lovely, we are fooling around and laughing and trying our damnedest to walk across and suddenly there's this little girl six feet down from the slackline, waiting beside an open minivan. She has black little heals on and a fluttery blue dress, translucent as gauze. Her hair is ringlet blond, she's standing there holding a little basket with a white fluffy dog in it and a blue little purse that matches her dress and a black little jacket that matches her shoes and I tell her I like it, how her bag matches her dress and she thanks me, then takes her hands and lets her fingers sift through the layers of her dress and it flutters down so nice and she says, my mom got me this dress, it’s new, I’m going to Grandma’s house in Fresno for New Years. She states this and I like her boldness. I tell her how lovely she looks, again, and she thanks me again. Now she is stroking her white wolf stuffed animal and I ask her if she's named him yet, and she says, no, not yet, I got him a couple days ago, and I say, oh so you’re waiting for the name to come to you, and she says yes, I’m waiting. We stand there and she tells me I look familiar, like maybe she's seen seen me in a park a bit ago and I say maybe, maybe you’ve seen me because I live in this house, and she says, no I’ve seen you in a park, but I can’t remember the name, and we stand there in silence, watching Brian tremble on the line, trying to balance, laughing, he falls off. We turn back to each other, chat more about her dress. Her name is Vivian and we handshake, and I would bet anything that she is seven or eight or nine. I go inside to get a glass of water and when I walk back outside she's still standing in front of our driveway and I ask her if she wants to try it, slacklining and she asks would I have to take off my shoes?and I say, yes, and then we turn back in silence and watch Shaina wobble, who is getting better at slacklining by the minute. Vivian decides taking off her fancy shoes are worth it and slips them off, then uses my hand to climb on, walks across without any trembling, her hand as light as a chinchilla. Shaina and Brian cheer her on. She makes it to the end and leaps off pleased and calm and goes back to her shoes and her purse and her white stuffed animal and continues to watch us. I ask her if she wants to get on again and she says, okay, and this time she steps on without any help, holding a teatree branch, and then holds my hand, walks across it, her hand on mine like the warm pressure of an overweight hamster, and I am super careful because I don't want this sweet girl breaking her skull open onto the concrete cement in front of my house. I ask her once she jumps off if she wants to do it again, because she's gotten to the end so fast and it doesn't seem fair not to offer another go, and she says yes and climbs back up without my help and walks across and is down again and putting on her shoes and when Brian gets onto the slackline to try again, she encourages him to use the tree. Knowing you have something to grab onto makes you a lot more confident, she says. Then her mom is calling her and she grabs her purse, her heals, her nameless stuffed animal wolf, and runs down the street, waving goodbye. I think this is a really good sign, I tell Shaina and Brian. This is going to be a great night.