The neighborhood I live in really, really dense with kids. There’s a chicken in every pot and at least one child in every house.
Not long ago, I was outside and one of the kids—a little girl who just turned three, whom I adore—made good on her promises to come over for “a little visit.” We went inside under the idea that we’d see what kind of toys we have at my house. Once in the dining room, though, she noticed right away that the fish we had (whose name was Blue or Gold or Puce or some color that inexplicably was not on its body) was missing. We didn’t have the fish for long, and I sort of forgot that she even knew we had it.
“Where’s the fish?” she asked.
“Uh, we don’t have it anymore,” I said. “Hey, do you like puzzles?”
“Where’s the fish go?”
I took a breath. “Well, you know, sweetie, fish don’t live very long. Ooh, I think you’ll like this puzzle.”
She looked at the puzzle and asked for a tissue, which I got for her. “I know what happened,” she said. “You took the fish back to the store so it could live with someone else!”
I paused. “Yes,” I said slowly. “That’s what happened.”