Wednesday, April 21, 2010
"Daddy, can I have money to throw in the water?" she asked.
"Haven't we thrown away enough money today, sweetie?" I asked. The sarcasm was lost on her.
"I want to make a wish. Can I have a quarter?"
"How about a penny?" After dropping a hundred and fifty bucks on park admission and about fifty more on food, it was time to start cutting corners.
"No, Dad, you don't get your wish for a penny. They cost a quarter." I must've missed the memo on that one. Who says you can't put a price tag on your dreams?
"I wanna make a wish too!" said Ryan.
We emptied our lunch trays in the trash cans and walked over to the wishing pond. I gave each kid a quarter, and watched as they closed their eyes, silently mouthed their wishes, and chucked the coins into the pond.
"What did you wish for?" I asked them.
"Daaa-aaad," said Ryan. "If we tell you, they won't come true."
"That's just for birthday wishes. It's okay to talk about coin wishes."
"I don't think so, Dad."
"If I made a wish, I'd tell you," I said.
"Well, then it wouldn't come true." said Lindsay, the resident expert on wish protocol.
"You're really not going to tell me?"
"Nope!" they answered in unison.
The following Monday night at the dinner table we were making the usual small talk. How was your day, did you learn anything at school, that sort of thing.
"So, Lindsay, what's the best thing that happened today?" I asked.
"Oh! I forgot to tell you! My wish came true!"
"The one I made at Knott's Berry Farm. I wished that Daniel in my class would disappear." Daniel was the Tutor Time Preschool's resident bully. I'd seen the kid a few times when I picked Lindsay up, smoking cigarettes he kept hidden in his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles lunchbox.
"You wished that Daniel would disappear?" I asked, chuckling.
"And it came true?"
"Yeah! When Miss Wendy called the rolls this morning she said that Daniel won't be here anymore 'cause he moved! I got my wish!"
Though I understood Lindsay's desire to get rid of the little punk, I didn't want her to think that she could just wish people away as nice a thought as that is. I tried to explain to her that Daniel's family would've moved anyway, that they were probably making their plans long before we went to Knott's that day, but at age four she wasn't buying it. This was no coincidence. In her mind, she'd banished her nemesis to Siberia with the magic quarter of doom.
Across the table, I noticed Ryan blowing furiously on his mashed potatoes. After a few huffs and puffs, he slammed his spoon down and stomped upstairs. This was unusual, as Ryan's always been a fairly easy-going kid. I went up to his room and found him lying on his bed, scowling at the ceiling.
"What's wrong, dude?" I asked.
"It's not fair. Lindsay's wish came true but mine didn't."
"Well, Ry, I don't really think her wish came true, exactly."
"You heard her! She wished for that kid to disappear and now he's gone! She got her wish, but I didn't get mine!"
"What is it that you wished for, anyway?"
"To be able to breathe fire."