After my wife’s aunt died in January, we found a set of finger puppets in her apartment that my wife had given her as a gift. The aunt was an opera buff who regularly treated us to performances at the Met. The puppets were based on the opera, Carmen.

When I brought them to my mother’s, I wasn’t sure what I would do with them. In fact, I forgot I had them with me until I attempted to squeeze myself into a medium-sized carton while entertaining my mother as a contortionist. One thing led to another and soon, the puppets were poking out through the pre-cut hand holes in the box.

Their sudden emergence intrigued my mother. I put the Carmen figure on one of her fingers, Escamillo’s on the other hand. Within moments and minus any prompting from me, she had Carmen kissing and hugging the bullfighter. I supplied the sound effects by smacking my lips together, and then we switched roles with her doing the effects. We continued like this for several minutes, each of us alternating as puppeteer and Foley artist. The over-the-top kissing was a scene I didn’t want to end.