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Me, Left Holding the Bag

June 15th, 2007

Crazy Big Sister is Wacky Girl’s best friend. (Crazy Baby Sister is younger than Wacky Boy, but already a force to be reckoned with. Who needs words when you can gesture, shriek, throw pizza, then smile winningly so everyone goo-goos at you? She is a dolly. I want to nibble on her.) CBS has straight dark hair; WG has straight blonde hair. They’re both long-legged and coltish. They think boys are stupid. They think gum is good. They like to play tricks. They’re brilliant at reading and math. They met playing soccer two years ago. They were in first grade together. They were in second grade together. If they’re not in third grade together — I don’t want to think about it. They’re both a little… quirky.

When I ask them a question, for instance “Who broke this?” they don’t have to get their stories straight first. They have some kind of mind-meld going. CBS usually takes the lead.

“It was like that. We found it upstairs.”

WG: “Yeah. On the floor.”

CBS: “Any more questions?”

me, a little frightened by the steely stares: “No, that was all. Can I get you a snack?”

They disappear into my daughter’s room for hours on end. I have no idea what they do, but it usually involves glitter glue, feathers and most of the Littlest Petshop animals.

Day before yesterday I asked them, “Have you two been best friends since the first minute you met?”

In unison, deadpan, “Yes. Any more questions?”

Neither of them likes to pick up their rooms, or keep their desks straight. And that’s why I ended up after school today — OUR LAST DAY!!! THANK YOU JEEBUS, HOW I HAVE LONGED FOR THIS YEAR TO END — holding CBS’s box of stuff.

Because a plastic bag, backpack or brown paper grocery sack would not have contained all of her loot. The large drawings of fish, the dictionary, the notebooks, pencils, scissors and spelling tests. The funniest thing both girls do: They pull everything out of their desks, stack it on top of the desk, look at it for five, ten, fifteen minutes, however long it takes for the teacher to suggest they clean it up, recycle some, take some home.

They do none of this. Back it goes, every scrap of paper, every lollipop, every broken pencil, back into the desk.

Wacky Girl, if I’m in the classroom when she’s doing the haul-out, stuff-back-in routine: “Don’t look at any of this!” (The love notes, the Valentines that must not be thrown out, the picture of a carrot that CBS drew for her. In case there was any doubt, it says “CARROT!” at the top. Below it says “50 cents.” This is crossed out. Below that it says “JOKE,” in pink marker, with an arrow.)

So the box of goodies — it contained more stuff than when I helped her pack it earlier in the day. Plus there was a coat — not hers — shoved in the top.

“It’s Miranda’s stuff, too.”

“Where’s Miranda?” CBS dances off. Where is her mother? I have no idea. But I spot Miranda.

“You have my stuff!” she says. She’s happy. I would be, too, if someone else was holding this box.

“Where’s your mom?” We spot her.

“Let’s take her your stuff.”

Miranda dances off. My children? Where are my children in this scenario? They’ve danced off, too, much earlier. The playground is chaos, but the good news is no one has brought their pit bulls. So I’m not too concerned about my children, they’re fine.

Miranda runs ahead of me.


Mommy says, “No stuff? Good, let’s go.”

Miranda runs off with her mommy.

Me: “Miranda!” I hand the box of stuff to her mom, who smiles and says thanks but does not mean it.

I dance off, I find my children.

We leave the playground.

Happy summer, here we are.

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