We have an hour and everything is done, lunch is packed and in her backpack, she’s dressed and wearing shoes and her hair is done, a ponytail that’s driving me crazy with all the wisps falling out but she jerks away from my smoothing fingers: “I like it like that!” she says, scowling.
“What should we do?” I ask her.
“Play!” she says happily. That used to strike terror in my heart, just that word, when there were hours with nothing to do and the game would go on forever. But now, not so much.
“What should we play?”
“Fairies!” She goes and gets them, eight of them, in a little felt house, and a purple plastic Pegasus. “They’re going to fly! Fly through the sky with this guy and his little blue eye,” she rhymes. “Whee! Now you guys line up, line up, line up in order,” she tells the fairy dolls. “Red, pink, orange, yellow, green…”
“Oh, you’re doing it in rainbow order,” I say, charmed. That is so cute!
“Yes, it’s the order,” she tells me. “Red is first. Time for a ride! It’s your turn, Red! Climb aboard! Wheee! Wheeeee!”
“Why does Pegasus have wings again?” I ask her.
“He was just a horse, and then he did so many good deeds that he became a pony, and then he did more good deeds and became a, a, Mama, what do you call the horses with the points on their head?”
“A unicorn, and then he did more good deeds and he finally got his wings, aaaaaah!” she makes the sound of an angelic chorus.
“What kinds of good deeds does a horse do?”
She senses Mama trying to be funny (and failing) and frowns at me. “Just, just, taking people places where they want to go! He gives these girls rides!” she tells me, and I don’t want to wreck her game so I’m quiet then, and she swoops Red on the pegasus’ back, and then lays her down in the row, saying “Go lie with your sisters, it’s Pink’s turn.” Violet’s cheeks are as pink as the inside of a conch shell, pinker than Pink, a color that makes me want to write bad poetry. I love lying here, being inside her little girl’s world of fairies and flying good-deed-doing horses, watching her little face and her little fingers, taking a dumb little plastic toy we got at a 99 cent store and making it magic.
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