Me: 40. But I look 39. Or 41.
Violet: 3. Wearing Dora The Explorer pajama dress, eating microwave pancakes.
Kitchen in the morning. We are seated at the red kitchen table. Tigger The Tiger is sitting on the table itself. Violet eats/I drink coffee.
(Camera rises out of week old Mother’s Day flowers to reveal bright room with man and daughter in mid-conversation.)
Me: Do you want something to drink maybe?
Violet (mouth full of pancake): mmmrrrColmik!
Me: Huh? I can’t understand a word you’re saying. That’s not even a language you’re talking, kid. It’s air being mooshed through a flapjack filter, do you know that?
Violet: Cold milk, Daddy!
Me: Oh, cold milk? Okay, great choice. I’ll get you some. (I rise up.)
Violet: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! (She flings herself out of the chair and pushes me back to my seat and begins to move fast towards the fridge.)
Me: What are you doing?! Oh. I see. You wanna get the milk yourself? Okay.
(By the sink there is a row of brightly colored plastic cups. We convene there.)
Violet: I want big girl cup pweeze.
Me: Good deal; what color this morning, lady?
Violet: (reaching up to the end of her reach) Owange!
Me: Great. Orange it is.
(She gets the milk from the fridge, but it’s always too heavy and there is always a near-catastrophic spill, so I am there waiting to catch the heavy jug the same way I would be if she was pulling an anvil down off a shelf. We pour it into the big girl cup and go back to the table.)
Me: So how’s school? Do you have any friends there who you like, babe?
Violet: I have fwendz. He got an owie.
Me: Who got an owie? How?
Violet: Tommy. He got an owie. He fell down we racing. Owie.
Violet: We race.
Me: And this Tommy guy fell, huh? Did he cry?
Violet: (pancake mouth) He qwuied.
Me: Who is this guy? Is he nice to you? You’re friends, right.
Violet: We’re friends, daddy.
(She’s never said this before. That she has a friend. I am torn between melt and jealousy and grand confusion.)
Me: Is Tommy your only friend at school? Who else do you play with?
Me: Brody?! Who’s Brody? I never heard of any Brody before? Is he nice to you.
Violet: He’s nice, daddy.
Me: He is? Okay, good, good. So you guys race, huh? Is it fun?
Violet: He got owie.
Me: Who? Tommy? He’ll be okay. Did you help him up when he fell?
Violet: Mmmmmmm, syrup.
Me: Violet, what else do you know about Tommy? Is he a nice friend?
Violet: More colmilk?
Me: Okay okay, but tell me some more about these races with Tommy. And Brody. Do you guys laugh a lot?
Violet: (looking at me funny.) He got owie in race!
Me: (silence. I am being shut down. Stone-walled. Pushed away, mentally.)
Me: Cold milk?
Violet: Yes! I’ll get it, daddy!
Me: Okay, fine. ( We rise up together.) This conversation isn’t over though, you know that right?!
(But, it’s over. We go toward the big girl cups. New cup of milk= new colored cup.)
(Camera zips back away from dad and daughter at fridge and swirls around the room like a housefly all hopped up on steaming dog dirt and with a few spins around the ceiling/everything in a wild blur, it sucks itself back into the flowers on the red table. Fade to black.)
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