From Foul Play at the PTA by Laura Alden
My room is my favorite place in the whole wide world. My big brother Blake says his favorite place is up north at some camp he went to last summer. I’m too little to go. “Six year olds don’t get to go to camp,” Blake said when he came back. “You have to be at least ten.”
I counted on my fingers how long that would be. “Four more years?”
Daddy laughed. “Two thirds of your life, Sunshine. Bet it seems like forever, huh?” He tugged at my hair. “Let’s go for a bike ride. First to ride a hundred miles wins.”
Daddy always made me laugh. But Daddy isn’t here. Ever again. Mommy says we have to just remember him, from now on. That a bad guy got him and he’ll have to be buried in the ground. I don’t want Daddy to be in the ground. I want him here with me.
Somebody walked upstairs and came into my room. “Are you crying?”
It was Blake. I could tell it was him even if I was all the way under my favorite purple blanket.
“You haven’t talked for, like, days,” Blake said.
I rubbed the edge of the blanket between my fingers. I liked the way it felt, all smooth and silky. Rubbing it made me feel a little better, sometimes.
“It’s no fun when you don’t talk. Mom’s all worried.”
It wasn’t going to be fun ever again, with Daddy gone. I rubbed the edge a little harder.
“Come out of there.” Blake poked me.
I sighed and pulled my blanket down a little ways. Just far enough to see him. I was lying down with my legs all curled up and Blake was kneeling on the floor, looking at me.
“This kind of sucks, doesn’t it?” he asked.
My eyes opened wider. He almost swore. Maybe not a real swear, but kind of close. If Mommy heard him, he’d be in trouble.
“I mean about Dad, and stuff.”
I didn’t want to talk about Daddy. I didn’t want to talk about anything. I wanted to stay here under my blanket. A sad sound came out of me and I started to pull the blanket over my face.
“Hey,” Blake said. “Don’t do that. Let’s go for a bike ride.”
I shook my head. It was November and it looked cold outside.
“Mom sent me up to ask. She wants to go, too.”
We’d gone for bike rides all summer, Mommy and Daddy and Blake and me. But I didn’t think we could go for a ride without Daddy. Daddy rode next to me in case I got wobbly from no training wheels.
“It’ll be okay,” Blake said. “I’ll ride with you.”
I looked at him. If I had someone next to me, I wouldn’t have to worry so much. If I didn’t have to ride alone, maybe it would be okay. “Will you catch me?” I asked. “If I start to fall?”
“Then, okay, I guess.”
I pushed the blanket back and we stood up. Blake took my hand and we went down the stairs to Mommy.