No reason to freak out
Tuesday night — 7:30 P.M.
Mike’s face registered shock then hardened. His look would terrify an adult let alone a small child. Valerie pushed him away from Katy.
“When did he tell you, honey?” Ever the actress, Valerie kept her voice friendly and almost happy.
“Well, I have a Jill doll,” Katy said. She looked over at her beautiful Auntie and smiled. Valerie smiled in return. “You haven’t met her. Mommy got me the doll when I was about one year old. She works some nights and I stay with Aunt Megan. Have you met Aunt Megan?”
“I have,” Valerie said. She touched Katy’s wet hair. “I like your Aunt Megan.”
“I like Aunt Megan too. A lot. But she’s not Mommy,” Katy said. “I was really sad when Mommy wasn’t with me. Mommy found a Jill doll. It looks sort of like Mommy and it has her recorded voice. My Jill doll usually says, ‘Love you Katy-baby’ or ‘Sweet Katherine’ or this little poem Mommy says before bed or ‘Mommy misses you’ or… I think that’s all. I like the ‘Love you Katy-baby’ the best. I press past the other ones so I can hear that the most when I’m sad.”
Valerie looked to Mike. He nodded. Katy and her Jill doll were almost never apart.
“But I haven’t been sad in a long time.” Katy stared off into space. “Since before we went to the zoo. My Jill doll was in my old room. When Mommy was in the shower, I found my Jill doll.”
“What did the Jill doll have to say?” Valerie asked in her light happy voice.
“It was my old Daddy. He said he was coming to get me and I would live with him forever,” Katy said. “Scooter growled and barked when the Jill doll talked like that. Scooter was so mad that I hid the doll. I don’t want Scooter to be mad.”
“Did the Jill doll say anything else?” Mike growled. Valerie scowled at him over Katy’s head. He shrugged.
“I didn’t hear, Uncle Mike.”
“Because of Scooter?”
“Uh huh.” Katy finished her hot chocolate. “He’s coming to get me.”
Valerie reached around Katy to hold Mike’s hand. Mike looked caught somewhere between rage and despair.
“More cocoa?” Valerie asked.
“Yes please,” Katy said.
Valerie took Katy and Mike’s mug and went into the small apartment kitchen. Katy sighed.
“Are you mad?” Katy asked Mike.
“Worried,” Mike said.
“Scares me. More than a little bit,” Katy said. “I have a new Daddy. I haven’t seen the other Daddy in forever. He didn’t want to ever BE my Daddy. Why won’t he leave me alone!?”
“I wish I knew, honey,” Mike said. His face softened. “But I’ll tell you this. No one is going to keep you away from your Mommy. Your old Daddy doesn’t know who he’s dealing with.”
“Oh,” Katy’s eyes welled with tears. “I don’t want to live with him, Uncle Mike.”
Mike pulled Katy on his lap. Rocking her back and forth while Katy cried, Mike made a plan. No one was going to steal his Katy and hold her captive.
The retelling of Celia’s Puppies, Denver Cereal Volume 2, continues tomorrow…
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