“I’m bleeding! I’m bleeding!” Clara rocked back and forth on the floor.
“You’re not bleeding,” I told her, peering down from the bed.
“Yes, I am! Here!” She contorted her leg and showed me a faint red line on her ankle.
“Clara…” I sighed. “How did you possibly cut yourself just by climbing off your bed to pick up your floor?”
“I cut myself on this!” She held up a small piece of petrified orange peel.
“Okay, you see, this is why I told you guys to clean your room this morning. You had all day to work on this. I shouldn’t have to sit here and dictate every single step of cleaning your room so that this place doesn’t look like a garbage pile before you go to sleep tonight.”
Lydia was also on the floor, delicately picking up tiny pieces of paper and placing them in their pink trash can. “Cleaning the room isn’t the only way to make it look nice. We also decorated today!”
I looked around the room at the clothes hanging out of the dresser, and the upside down baskets of toys in the closet. “You’re kidding me, right? What part of this is ‘decoration’?”
The little girl pointed behind me. “We painted the door!”
I looked. One panel of their white door was now a faint pink color. I leaned closer. It was covered in a thick goopy paste. “What?! What did you do!? What is this!?”
She held up a small tube and smiled. “I used this paint!”
“Lydia! That’s lip gloss! You covered your bedroom door in lip gloss? This is not an improvement. Why, instead of cleaning your room today, did you smear lip gloss all over your door!?”
She hugged herself, “Because it’s beautiful…” she said dreamily.
I rested my head in my hands, Clara was still crying and rubbing her cut ankle. “Just… just pick the trash up off the floor and get into bed, please. Make sure you get all the shards of orange peel, since they are apparently lethal now.”
A few minutes later Clara’s ankle was tucked into a fresh band-aid, the girls were tucked into fresh blankets, and I was stumbling my way to the door. As I left the room I reached behind me flipped off the light. I stood quietly in the hallway and took two deep breaths before looking down to see what was wrong with my hand. The fingers that had just touched the light switch were now coated in pink sparkly lip gloss. I held it up to the light. As my anger faded I had to admit, there really was something beautiful about it. The light catching on the tiny specks of magic trapped inside the chaos. I rubbed the waxy substance between my fingers for a moment and smiled.