At the water’s edge, I take off my shoes and socks, then step into the cold current and stand on the rocky stream bed in a spot where your shadow can fall fully upon the water’s surface. Leaning over her, I reach my hands through your shadow and jostle the water. Barely a moment later, emotional detritus comes off her as a plume of minuscule grit that brushes past my fingers and palms before flowing away, carried off downstream.
Her sense of self-worth shouldn’t be so debilitated by the success of others. It’s unbecoming and unhealthy. So I make her a social comparison blocker: custom-crafted cognitech packed into a hair clip, an alligator-style barrette that she can easily wear as an unobtrusive accessory to constantly, preemptively inhibit her mind’s habit of benchmarking herself against others.