Between times Charlize thinks of herself as Charlie. When her new Italian sandals cut into the tops of her feet she switches into Charlie’s comfy twice resoled Buster Brown’s. When Mother’s limo goes dead on the drive home from school and the chauffeur will have to walk to the nearest garage Charlie pulls out her trusty All-State Cross Country battery so she won’t be left alone in the dark. At night Charlie’s little terrier curls against Charlize’s body and keeps her warm when the Norwegian nanny turns down the thermostat to a toe-numbing temperature for “a healthy body-healthy mind”.
When her horse sets his feet for the jump and her stomach goes to her throat with fear Charlize reminds herself that she is not really sitting upon a 16-hand gelding running in a steeplechase race but is actually sitting upon a wooden box and reading the latest issue of True Confessions. Darling, I have always loved you and only pretended to love your sister.
When Charlize’s grandfather’s friend comments once again upon her lovely violet eyes then stands too close while he recalls the times when he had bounced her on his knee, Charlie thumbs an old issue of Wonder Woman and imagines just how well a pair of Amazonian bracelets would fit around her own wrists.
When her father calls from London to say, “ I promise you can come visit next year or the next,” Charlize can only hear Charlie’s dad chuckling with his customers. “Mustard and relish with that dog? Yes, this here’s my daughter Charley. Best thing that ever happened to me. Apple of my eye. A terrific reader. Tops in her class. Cover your feet girl. The cold is settling in. Can’t have anything bad happening to my little sweetheart.”
But the very best part of Charlize’s life is when, just every so often, Charlie’s dad slips and calls his daughter Charlize.