I was woken up this morning by a war that was taking place in the hallway. Like most wars, this one was being fought over control of a pack of bubble gum. Two young girls were blasting each other back and forth with grapeshot clusters of accusations and demands, launched through smacked lips obviously already full of bubble gum. From what I could make out from the shouting, the package of bubble gum that I had let Clara buy at the store last night had been partially devoured already and then lost.
I stared up at the ceiling and slowly pulled the blankets over my head.
But you can not hide from war. It was just moments before my bedroom door was being kicked open and an angry 9-year-old was tearing the covers off of my head.
“Good! You’re awake!” she shouted.
“I want no part of this,” I said, wishing I could say it in French.
“Lydia took my bubble gum and now she won’t give it back!”
I groaned, “Clara, when you bought the gum last night, you said you were buying it as a gift for your sister. Why would she have to give it back to you?”
The young soldier growled and shook her fists in the air, “Yes! I did give it to her! But I gave it to her so she could SHARE it with ME!” She said and then punctuated the statement by blowing a very large pink bubble, the irony of which she completely missed.
“Uh huh…” I tried to pull the covers back over my head, but a hand reached out and stopped me. “I need you to do something!”
A voice came from the hallway, “I don’t. know. where. it. is. Clara! I would give it to you, but I don’t have it!”
I raised my eyebrows and motioned towards this voice with a limp hand. “I think it sounds like your sister is trying to be reasonable. You guys need to work this out between the two of you. Just take a breath and be rational. Talk it out.”
She took a deep breath and puffed up her cheeks and blew out hard. I could tell this wasn’t working.
“Also, this might not be the best time to mention it, but you shouldn’t eat bubble gum for breakfast. That’s a terrible idea.”
The girl roared again, shaking an invisible stick above her head, and then she stormed out the door. In the hallway, the sounds of battle reignited.
“Why do you even engage them?” I wondered to myself. “You’re smarter than this, James. Just get up and deal with it.”
As I swung my legs out of bed and ran a hand over my tired face, I heard Lydia charge into another room and wail furiously. “Gideon!” She screamed, “Gideon, destroy Clara!”
I leaned forward and listened for his reply. In the distance, I heard a heavy sigh, “No, Lyd,” he said softly. “Me not want to do that. Me busy right now.”
I smiled. At least I had one conscientious objector. Perhaps peace was not so impossible a thing to dream.