Last night Lydia handed me a crayon drawing of her favorite Shopkins. There was a little cupcake with big blue eyes and a happy smile, a jovial red and white box of popcorn winking and dancing, and a shy little donut who was high fiving a cross-eyed green apple.
“They are all friends,” she told me.
“Oh, they are very cute, Sweetie.” I pat her on the head.
“Yeah.” She pointed at the picture, “They are going to have a party.”
“Yeah.” She smiled and pointed at the picture again. “Did you see, that they brought a cake?”
“Oh. I do see. That’s a cool thing to bring to a party.”
“Yeah.” She shrugged. “But their friend, the strawberry, isn’t going to come to the party.”
“Oh no! That’s sad. Why not?”
She sighed and ignored the question. “Which is probably good, because she wouldn’t have really liked this cake.”
I narrowed my eyes.
She stared at me and waited.
“Lydia. Why isn’t the strawberry coming to the party?”
She pointed at the paper again without breaking eye contact with me. “You see? Do you see the cake? Do you see that it’s a strawberry cake?”
A bead of sweat trickled down my forehead.
She continued plainly, “It’s not nice to invite your strawberry friend to a party where you are going to eat strawberry cake.”
I swallowed hard into a dry throat. “No… no that wouldn’t be very nice,” I croaked. “Um… Hey, run upstairs and put on your pajamas. I’ll see you in the morning. I’m going to sleep in the car tonight with the doors locked.”