Benjamin’s best friend, Sydney, came over to play last night. Her mother Mia and I have been best friends since kindergarten. And now we live 100 feet away from each other. Call it fate, call it destiny – whatever it is – but seeing our children play together like we did, not so long ago… is soul moving, to say the least.
Sydney, a 4-year-old who is obsessed with fairytales and princesses, decided to make mud soup in the back yard. Benjamin was her assistant. “Stir Benjamin, stir it up,” she said in the voice of a wicked witch, “We are going to make poison soup to poison your mommy and she will never wake up… never, ever.”
Benjamin complied. He’s in love.
When the soup was finally finished Sydney gave me a drink off the tip of her stick. I played dead.
“And now,” she said, “We will cover you in the soup and you’ll be asleep forever, you’ll never live happily ever after and you’ll never find your prince.” She started painting my feet with mud.
“Why won’t I find a prince?” She was freaking me out but I was listening.
“Because all of the princes are mushed together in a big onion ball!”
But then she kept repeating my horrible fate, minus the onion ball, over and over again. With each stroke of the mud. “And you will never, ever live happily ever after. Your prince will never find you. You will be alone forever and ever, ever after.”
When Mia came over I told her about her daughter’s creepy curse.
“Well, she’s not a prophet,” Mia laughed.
“How do you know?” I asked.
Then she looked at me – I’m still sitting there and Sydney is still painting me – the mud is now all over my arm and some is even on my face.
“Yeah… well, maybe she is! Who knows,” she conceded. Mia and I believe in ghosts, tarot cards and all things mystical – we always have.
Later that night, long after little Benjamin had been tucked away, Kris called. I hadn’t seen him in a week and invited him over. I ran around the house, cleaning up the toys and then jumped into the shower. And there they were – my muddy feet. I’d forgotten about them.
I started scrubbing but the mud, all dry and crusty, it was still there. I grabbed a loofah. But in that moment, when my crazy single mom mind actually believed the mud would never wash off, I realized that Sydney was right.
P.S. I hate to leave you hanging, but I’m utterly exhausted. You understand I’m sure…