Moon stopped and waved weakly at Claire. Claire looked up and waved back mirroring the movement. Her eyes peered through Moon. Her wide eyes appeared to carry some sort of peerless insight bordering on divinity . But of course it was just that, an appearance. Cookie knew a two year olds introspection was limited to their immediate surroundings. But she saw Moon getting caught in the depth of her daughter’s eyes. Cookie knew enough about children to know this is where parents faltered. They would look in their children’s faultless eyes and they would divulge. Tendrils of evil blurted out because they assumed their child could handle it. Somehow their child was wiser than the rest, more well of then they had been at that age.
Cookie stepped forward as Moon’s mouth parted. Slowly it closed, drawing it breathe. Moon slowly smiled. Claire smiled and glanced at the tv and then back at her mother. Moon inched forward and peered at the tv screen and nodded.
“ I’m going to shower and then I’ve got some good news.” Moon smiled.
Claire looked at her mother questioningly, “ Is my birthday coming soon?”
Moon laughed despite herself, “ Your birthday isn’t until September.”
Claire looked up at the ceiling as she asked, “ Is it swimming lesson day?”
Moon laughed, “ No, stop guessing! I’ll be out in a sec, don’t give Aunt Cookie trouble.”
Claire transferred her gaze toward Cookie. Claire didn’t know she was staring. She knew it was rude but was never aware that she was doing it. Moon had talked a lot about Cookie yet Cookie was a stranger in Claire’s life. Cookie only baby sat while Claire was already sleeping. But Cookie was the only baby sitter who would rock Claire or rub her back when she woke up and couldn’t go back to sleep. She was the only one who ever sang. Sometimes Claire would hear Cookie’s voice drifting through the hallways and her eyes would instantly get heavier.
“ Is Cookie your real name?” Claire blurted out.
Cookie’s mouth upturned as she fought of a giggle. Cookie shook her head.
“ My real name is Audrey Grace. After two great ladies…before your time and mine “Cookie replied.
Claire jumped up, “ And people call you cookie because you eat a lot of cookies like the cookie monster. But it’s rude to call people monsters.”
Cookie actually did giggle this time, “ That’s right I love cookies.”
Claire smiled and then reached out and then thrust her cereal bowl in Cookie direction. Cookie shook her head and glanced toward the kitchen. Claire sighed and paddled toward the kitchen. In the sudden absence of noise Cookie heard the shower abruptly stop, the pipes vibrated and the bathroom door swung open. Moon came out in a Chinese robe. She gave a quick back wave and closed her bedroom door. Claire literally threw her
bowl into the sink and ran into her mother’s room. Cookie laughed as she heard Moon squeal.
“ knock first girl!” Moon shouted.
Cookie laughed again and then looked around for the remote. There was nothing on tv of course , she settled for nostalgia and watched “ The littlest hobo”.
She didn’t get to far or too comfortable in her chair before a skirt was thrown in her direction. Cookie caught it with her face. Once she peeled it off her face she saw a child wearing a hat with fake dreadlocks connected to it.
Cookie’s eyes widened but she didn’t say anything. This kid wore a Burkini in the summer. While the door was closed Cookie shimmed into a much more comfortable long cotton skirt. Cookie played with the elastic band and the draw string. The skirt made her despise her form fitting baby t-shirt. Unfortunately even after giving birth Moon still had no breasts to speak of, so Cookie was left in her constricting garb.
Before Cookie could sit down Claire was running hell for leather down the hallway. She stopped uncomfortably close to Cookie and shouted, “ Are you the new Carl?”
Cookie blinked, “ What?”
“ Mama said your moving in because she misses having company and you’re going to baby sit me when she’s on the phones.”
Cookie nodded, “ I will be here but I will not be Carl. You and your mom are going to share a room and your toys will stay in your room and I’m just going to sleep there.”
“You don’t sleep a lot do you?”
Cookie laughed,” Only at night, so you can still play with your toys. Any other questions?”
Claire looked at the ceiling and nodded, “Will your kid be moving in too?”
Cookie stopped short and whispered, “ What?”