I am two.
I live at the Navy Lodge on the tippy-top floor.
I am a military child. There’s my Daddy the Navy pilot, my Isaac who’s five, and Mama, my mostly companion. And the seagulls, who always try to steal dinner on the beach and the terrace, so I have to shout shout shout to keep them out of our things, especially at the beach.
Every morning I say, “Mama! Are you awaaaaaaaake?” And she says, “Good morning, Eloise! Did you have a good sleep?” And Isaac says, “Good morning, Eloise! Did you have a good sleep?” And I say nothing, because I’m two, and everyone’s awake, and that’s enough for me in this life for heaven’s sake.
Then I skidder and slomp down the hall for breakfast. Sometimes I shriek as if someone has stolen my milk bottle if I want to make a really loud and terrible racket. Then we stomp stomp stomp down the stairs and have toast with butter for breakfast in the lobby or maybe just butter, and I touch all the eggs and apples I can reach but don’t eat them and I always put them back. Mama says, “Eloise, you can’t can’t can’t touch the eggs!” And I say nothing, because I’m two for heaven’s sake and I’m already halfway to the playground with Isaac.
Sand buckets make a very good hat.
One day Mama and Isaac and I got in the elevator and rode it all the way up to the tippy-top floor. Then Mama and Isaac got out, but I stayed in and those doors sklimp shut and down I go. The doors open and this floor looks as good as any. There’s a surprised-looking couple staring at me as I skidder out of the elevator. Maybe they’ve heard of ME, ELOISE. Then I turn that corner and run down that hall, but before I get too far I hear the staircase door slam open and Mama’s voice all frantic, talking to that couple, who never did get on that elevator I brought them. So without even asking whether I want to, Mama chases after me and scoops me up and takes me upstairs for a nap, like I don’t have a million things in this hotel to keep track of. Oh I am so busy it absolutely makes me tired tired tired.
Sometimes I have to pick up that phone and call room service. I want two birthday cupcakes, and charge it please. But I never get my chance, because Mama unplugged the room phone.