While tears dropped from Katy’s eyes, Delphie’s hand moved softly over Katy’s back.
“He didn’t love me … I tried to be really, really good, but he didn’t even like me … even one bit. He was always mad … at me.”
Delphie turned off the blender. Keeping her arm around the little girl, she dug in the bag for a handful of chocolate chips. She opened her hand to the crying girl. Katy took one chip after another until Delphie’s hand was empty.
“He didn’t want a stupid baby like me. He made Mommy so sad. She cried forever.” Katy shifted away from Delphie. She whispered, “and it was all my fault.”
Delphie held Katy in a tight hug.
“I woke up in that place … that hospital place? And I thought Mommy left me too.”
“Your Mommy will never ever leave you.”
“But she might if she finds out I’m bad.”
“Oh, honey, how are you bad?”
“I’m a needy, whiny, stupid baby.” Katy’s voice was barely over a whisper.
At her statement, Delphie heard a snort and felt movement behind her. Delphie stepped aside to let Jill hold Katy. While Delphie finished preparing the brownies, Jill and Katy cried and whispered back and forth. Delphie was about to leave the kitchen when Jill stepped away from Katy.
“She’d like to ask you something,” Jill said.
Katy’s hand twirled in her hair. She whispered into Jill’s ear.
“Ask her, Katy-baby,” Jill said. “She won’t lie to you.”
“Do you think I’m a needy, whiny, stupid baby?” Katy asked.
“I think you are a beautiful, funny, smart girl. It’s a pleasure to know you,” Delphie said. “But I also think you’re three years old.”
“But do you think I’m a needy …”
“No, Katherine. You are not a needy, whiney, stupid baby.”
Katy’s face scrunched up as if she was thinking about something hard or complicated.
“Mommy says sometimes people don’t know what they’re saying. She said my old daddy wasn’t telling the truth when he said that about me,” Katy said. “Do you think my Jacob wasn’t telling the truth when he said he would be my daddy?”
Delphie laughed. The timer rang for the brownies and she pulled the pan from the oven. She tossed several handfuls of chocolate chips on top of the hot brownies. Holding another handful of chips out to Katy, Delphie said, “I’ve known your Jacob a long, long time. I’ve never known Jacob to say something he didn’t mean.”
“He said, ‘No matter what.’ And we pinky swore. Does ‘No matter what’ mean that when I’m a needy, whiney, stupid baby he will still be my daddy?”
“No matter what,” Delphie said. “I think that’s true for all of us.”
Delphie made a movement with her hand. Valerie came into the kitchen from the sitting room where she had been secretly listening.
“I’ll be your auntie forever,” Valerie said.
“I’ll be your mommy all of my life,” Jill said.
“And I’ll be your Delphie.”
Katy nodded her head.
“Okay, I’ll be three.”
The retelling of Denver Cereal, Volume 1, continues tomorrow…
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