(originally posted March 8, 2009)
We ordered a pizza last night and my six year old went with me to pick it up. As I waited at the counter to pay, she asked me for a penny to throw into the fountain at the back of the restaurant.
I gave her one and then one extra, with instructions for a wish to be made on my behalf. I realize that this is plainly against the wishing rules, but the rules, for all they’re worth, haven’t played it quite straight with me either. And besides, it made her a full inch taller, that mission, being in charge of my wish. I watched her tapping the coins together self-consciously as she slipped through the seated diners, seeing them twist in their chairs to smile at the way she doesn’t quite acknowledge that there’s anyone else in the room. She always looks as if she wants to sparkle and be invisible all at the same time.
She came back to me, her nervous smirk a little tighter now that she was empty-handed and too old to finger-fidget in full view of everyone.
“I’ll give you a hint about what I wished for,” she said.
“Okay,” I said, agreeing to risk jinxing it all for a glimpse into her guarded little clockworks.
She leaned in and lowered her voice, all gravity and first-grade wisdom. “If I get it, I won’t let it change who I am.”